Members of the Tara Hill, Castletown and Ballymoney communities are invited to have their say on their vision for the future by taking part in a online survey.
In an effort to inform a five-year strategic community plan for the locality, the three communities have come together to launch a household survey, a youth survey and a national school survey. Residents and holidaymakers across the three communities are currently being invited to share their views on current issues, future initiatives/ facilities and general day-to-day life across the localities. A consulting team will later review the responses and use them to prepare the strategic plan.
The initiative was kick-started by members of the Tara Hill Community Development Association, who secured LEADER funding to support with the development of the plan.
"The hope is it will give us a way forward on what would work in the next five years in the area. It will give us a pathway to follow and help us to prioritise what needs to be done,” explained Chairman of Tara Hill Community Development Association, Joe Roche. “Footpaths, trails road traffic and speed limits are some of the things coming up so far, but the survey is still ongoing.”
In addition to a household survey aimed at adults living in the areas, a youth survey for 12 to 19-year-olds has been launched. The group is eager to receive more responses from young people, said Joe, who said that they will be using social media and GAA groups to try to encourage them to get involved.
"I’ve a young family myself, as others in the area do, and we never listen to them do we? The future of the area is going to be up to them so it is important that we hear their views.”
Another survey in the local national schools was completed recently and proved very successful, added Joe.
The survey and development of the strategic plan is being funded by the LEADER programme.
"Through the three surveys, we have covered all age cohorts in the community. What we want to do is reflect what the needs are of all sections of society, and what projects they would like to see prioritised,” said Rural Development Consultant, Dr Yvonne Byrne.
Once the survey is complete, Yvonne and fellow consultant, Siobhan Geoghegan will analyse the results, discuss them with the committee and make them available to the community.
“After that, myself and Siobhan will do a mix of one-to-one interviews and focus groups. If we find particular areas of interest are emerging, we might bring groups together and explore in more detail what they’re looking for and what would suit their needs best so that we can incorporate this accurately into the plan,” she explained. “We will also have engagement with relevant stakeholders.”
"The initiative is all about the community working together to respond to the needs of the community and do what they can to improve the lives of everyone.”
The survey will run for another two weeks. It can be completed at www.tarahill.org, or by picking up a physical copy in local shops and public venues.