Bangor Alternatives is a government accredited restorative justice organisation with offices in north, south, east, Shankill and Bangor working across Ards and North Down.
Bangor Alternatives was established in 2005 as a community based restorative programme working with the Ards and North Down area to address issues of community conflict with a focus on paramilitary attacks. It emerged from the centrally co-ordinating organisation, Northern Ireland Alternatives, which has been operational since 1997and has over 30 members of staff.
The following programmes are currently being rolled out within Kilcooley and the Ards and North Down area.
Neighbourhood Renewal/Community Development
The following programmes are continuing
Building on previous projects, Neighbourhood Renewal addresses the areas of youth prevention, community safety, crime prevention and community support initiatives. Bangor Alternatives provides a number of services that address the issues of community conflict, community cohesion and anti-social behaviour, and the impact that these have upon individuals and communities. Through the work of Bangor Alternatives they endeavour to do the following:
• To build safer communities: a range of community safety and crime prevention initiatives. It also works collaboratively with key partners to help ensure that issues are addressed effectively.
• 1-1 mentoring support to vulnerable individuals and young people experiencing social and educational disadvantage
• To tackle anti-social behaviour and low-level neighbourhood conflict: Youth prevention projects with young people on the streets that have been identified as causing annoyance or involved in low-level disorder.
• To reduce levels of anti-social behaviour and community conflict: The Intensive Youth Support Programme is specifically aimed at youth at risk, and youth causing annoyance, to help them develop a personal action plan to address their anti-behaviour.
• To address issues of community tension and conflict: Addressing key issues that impact on the community, and pioneering projects responding to identified need in relation to anti-racism, youth violence, attacks on the emergency services, and community relations and policing. • Community capacity building – through a programme of volunteerism.
• Training - detached youth work training, child protection, basic youth work skills, mediation, mentoring skills, conflict transformation and community support skills. If you know anyone who could avail of our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Start is an employability and personal development programme for 16-24 year olds who are not in employment, education or training. Three Start programmes currently operate in North Down and Ards, Shankill/North Belfast, and East/South Belfast.
Staff have continued to provide educational support to young people in the neighbourhood throughout the lockdown period. Employability and Essential Skills have continued via online platforms.
START Employability & Personal Development Programme START supports young people aged 16 to 24, who need education, employment or training, improve their confidence and self-esteem, learn new skills, gain qualifications and feel more a part of their community. Assigned a personal mentor, START explores barriers to employment and seeks to remedy obstacles with the goal of securing employment, further education or training opportunities. Young people also have the opportunity to obtain essential skills Maths and English and a plethora of other work-related qualifications. As many of our young people have experienced social exclusion, poverty or have other complex challenges in their lives, START is an ideal platform in which to address and overcome barriers and positively progress into education, training or work. Young people participate in: • Personal development programmes • Team building activities • Mentoring support • Employability skills • Vocational qualifications • Volunteering opportunities • Work place tours If you know of any young person who could avail of START, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The SAFE programme has brought 20 residents together to discuss community safety issues and identify community lead resolutions. This programme will include the establishment of a ‘Community Engagement Forum’ who will consist of residents from Kilcooley, Rathgill and neighbouring areas. The Forum will be involved with co-designing education/awareness raising events, information and learning visits and local relationship building. The aim of the project is to create safer communities for everyone.
Community Restorative Justice Ireland and Northern Ireland Alternatives are delivering the STARS – Striving To Achieving a Restorative Society programme. With Kilcooley being identified as a Communities In Transition area, Bangor Alternatives have recruited 30 key stakeholders from the locality in efforts to educate said recruited individuals on alternative methods in dealing with conflict in in repairing hurt and harm in the neighbourhood.
Dream big and raise aspirations
Achieve life goals and targets
Respect others and treat everyone equally
Engage with the community and have your voice heard
DARE is an initiative facilitated by Bangor Alternatives and ‘Bangor Yes’ (Extern). This programme is funded by the Executive Office as part of the Children and Young People strand of the Communities in Transition Project.
The DARE Programme will engage with Primary School aged children from the Rathgill and Kilcooley area around their personal and social development and support the children and their families to improve educational attainment. This programme will largely be delivered in schools and out of the formal school setting.
The DARE Programme will engage with Post Primary School aged children from the CIT area. The programme aims to raise aspirations for participants and support them to achieve goals bespoke to each young person.
The DARE Programme will be also be implementing a Youth Key Stakeholders Forum, and facilitating a number of events and campaigns designed to help young people and parents access services and support.