A major spruce up has begun in an area of Derry blighted by anti-social behaviour over recent weeks.
Local residents and councillors joined the Mayor of Derry & Strabane Elisha McCallion and representatives from Shantallow Residents Group for the launch this week.
Staff and volunteers from recently launched community initiative Teamworks have already begun the work at Moss Park in Galliagh.
The area along the top of Moss Park along the Glengalliagh Road has been the staging ground for a number of episodes of anti-social behaviour over recent weeks.
Youths have set fire to pallets, debris and other items and built barricades along the main road as trouble flared around the start of the bonfire season. There have been a number of other incidents in the area since then.
Speaking at the launch of the refurbishment project this week, Cathal McCauley, manager of Shantallow Residents Association said: “The anti-social has escalated drastically over the last couple of months in the lead up to the bonfire season.
“So going through the Community Safety Team and residents we are looking to get the place cleaned up. The Community Safety Team asked our Teamworks project to help.
“Between Teamworks and local volunteers from down here and Leafair, we have started sprucing the place up, painting fencing, cutting back all the weeds, painting walls, people’s fences, even the front of their houses.”
Mr McCauley said that the recurring nature of the problems in the estate may be attributed to the fact that funding lost for diversionary and recreational programmes for young people in the area at this time of year had been lost.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion welcomed the Teamworks initiative.
She said there would be “lots of different things” happening this week from painting fences to cutting grass, potting flower plants and “sprucing up the area to make it a little easier on the eye”.
“This is something we have been looking to do for quite a number of months and I’m glad to see it is now coming to fruition, and it will be happening all this week,” Mayor McCallion said, adding:
“There is the intent for it to happen throughout the city. In fact there have been a number of areas throughout Shantallow that have had the Teamworks project work their magic on them and we hope to continue that long and far.”
Also attending the launch, were SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney and Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy.
Colr Duffy said: “Considering the issues that the estate has had over the last while residents came to me and they were saying how it needed a wee face-lift, so going through the Community Safety Team it was great to get the Teamworks team down here to give the area a good face-lift. “It’s just giving people a bit of pride back in the area,” Colr. Duffy added.
Colr. Tierney commented: “The new Teamworks project will hopefully brighten up the area and give residents a bit of ownership back in an area that belongs to them.
“It will also tidy up the area and promote a more positive image.
“There is lots of ongoing work in the community to curb anti-social behaviour and that will continue throughout the summer months and beyond.”