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27th September 2010
Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Monday 27 September 2010 at 7.30 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane.
Present: In the Chair: Councillor K McGuire
Other Members: Councillors M Boyle, A Bresland, D Breslin, G Foley, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McGill, R McHugh, B McMahon, E McMenamin, J McNulty, J O’Kane.
Clerk & Chief Executive
Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure
Ms C Mullan, Project Manager, CAWT
Apologies: Councillors J Donnell and J Emery.
Presentation: Collaborative Working and Innovation to Address Alcohol
The Chairman welcomed Caitriona Mullan from Co-operative and Working Together (CAWT) to the Chamber and invited her to make her presentation.
Ms Mullan thanked Members for the opportunity to make the presentation of behalf of CAWT.
Ms Mullan advised Members that the above was a cross-border EU Interreg funded initiative, aimed at establishing new ways of working to address alcohol culture and alcohol harm currently experienced in Ireland/Northern Ireland Border Region. She added that the project was aimed at influencing change around service models, collaborative partnership working and around public engagement on a crucial population health issue. She said that we have a particularly complex cultural relationship with alcohol; a relationship that was costing lives and seriously damaging family life as a whole. She also said that it was not just a health services issue as there was a role for other sectors and civic leaders within the community.
Ms Mullan further advised Members that the project had 3 strands:-
• Early intervention Service (Alcohol)
o Recently launched 2 year clinical service pilot initiative.
o 8 workers from CAWT involved with area based addiction teams.
o Focused on specific support needs of the individual, family and children with a link to the Family Nursing Partnership in relation to Hidden Harm.
o Build in capacity within the health service for people to respond early to alcohol issues.
• Community Mobilisation Strand
o Delivered in partnership with voluntary and community sectors.
o Geographical areas were Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry.
o Aim was to facilitate bottom-up community responses to negative impact of alcohol culture and promote wider civic ownership of approaches to tackling alcohol culture.
o Tools enabling type support for community based pilots, strategic facilitation of wider regional cross-border civic dialogue around alcohol culture.
o Working in Ballycolman Estate to set up a group to support single parents affected by alcohol.
o Working with Strabane District Council to explore the idea of a Civic Alcohol Forum structure for the council area.
o Meeting with Strabane Sports Forum to look at the possibility of having a seminar on sports and alcohol.
o Sigersons GAA had requested exploration of the idea of a drugs and alcohol course for its younger members.
o Working in Castlederg with Mourne & Derg Youth Forum and community associations to establish alcohol courses and the supply of alcohol to young people.
o Working with Derg Valley Care to establish an alternative interest and alcohol awareness programme for older people.
• Strengthening Families (support programme for vulnerable families)
o Skills based family support programme.
o Evaluated and proven national model delivering multiple benefits for families.
o Project would look at approach for the western area and work with key public agencies across the board.
o Exploration of multiple funding streams.
Ms Mullan ended her presentation by advising Members that by 2012 they hoped to have a proven Early Intervention Service Model for Alcohol that would deliver real benefits for clients and their families They also hoped to pave the way for longer term strategic collaboration between health services and other areas of public/voluntary/community sectors to engage and tackle the negative impact of alcohol within the Ireland/Northern Ireland Border Region.
The Chairman thanked Ms Mullan for her comprehensive presentation and asked for comments/questions from Members.
Councillor Hussey declared an interest as a publican.
Councillor Hussey thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and raised the following issues:
• Engagement with other sports bodies in addition to Sigersons GAA
• Engagement with suppliers of alcohol e.g. local supermarkets
Ms Mullan stated that they had 2 employees based in the Western area who would be happy to work with the various sporting bodies within the area who were looking to address/educate young people in relation to any alcohol issues or concerns.
Ms Mullan agreed that the suppliers of alcohol had a role to play in the civic response to addressing the alcohol culture presently being experienced within the Northern Ireland border region. She added that a huge issue was the low price of alcohol being charged by local supermarkets etc, and stated that she would look into working with government bodies in an attempt to have the matter reviewed.
Councillor McMahon thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and stated that he agreed that the problem of alcohol abuse should not just be left to the health service but was a matter for all public bodies on both sides of the border. He raised the following issues:
• Statistics re: alcohol abuse in urban–v-rural areas
• Parents must take responsibility for their children
Ms Mullan advised that although no recent studies had been carried out she felt that there was really no distinction between the two as members of the rural community often travelled into their nearest town to socialise, where alcohol was readily available.
Ms Mullan agreed that parents needed to take more responsibility for their children to alert them to the dangers of alcohol abuse and the ongoing health problems associated with over drinking. She added that she would welcome support from any organisations in order to send out a strong message to everyone in relation to the effects of over indulgence in alcohol.
Councillor McNulty thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and stated that early intervention was vital in relation to alcohol abuse. He said that alcohol was too readily available to everyone, especially the younger generation and that publicans, supermarkets etc, had a responsibility in relation to the amount of alcohol they sold, and to whom. He felt that a culture change was needed as drinking was too widely accepted within all communities and health warnings, etc were being completely ignored. He wished her well in all future endeavours.
Ms Mullan agreed that early intervention was the key in relation to alcohol abuse but felt that a huge number of young people were peer pressured into consuming high levels of alcohol. She stated that a lot more support should be given to families and no judgment passed if there was an abuse of alcohol within the family. She added that there was a role for all organisations to play, especially elected representatives, to ensure that adequate help and support was given to those people who had an alcohol problem.
Councillor McMenamin thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and stated that alcohol abuse was an on-going problem that was extremely difficult to resolve, as even a complete ban on alcohol would create even greater problems. He agreed that early intervention was the key and would like to see more education within schools in relation to the problem and also the health risks involved. He raised the following issues:
• Liaison with Alcohol Anonymous (AA).
• Alcohol abuse within other countries
• Drugs connection to alcohol abuse
Ms Mullan stated that the AA was part of a spectrum of organisations that they co-existed with but stated that the AA dealt mainly with long term drinkers. The vision for their project was early intervention to reduce alcohol harm and to alleviate the suffering and damage that misuse of alcohol caused to the population as a whole, but in particular to children and young people.
Ms Mullan said that several studies had been carried out in the Nordic countries and they appeared to be managing any problems they might have with alcohol abuse. However every country had a different way at looking at the problem and something that worked elsewhere might not work here. Their goal was to look at educating future generations on the damage that is caused both to your health and to your family when alcohol abuse occurs.
In relation to a drugs connection to alcohol abuse, Ms Mullan stated that there was probably dual usage but their project was especially designed for the mis-use of alcohol.
Councillor Kerrigan thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and stated that he welcomed and supported the project. He added that the issue had to be addressed by all Councils and good coverage given in the local press to educate people as to the level of the ongoing problem. He stated that the key to success was the strengthening of families and the education of parents as they had a duty of care towards their children. He added that laws also needed to be tightened as alcohol was too readily available to children of all ages. He wished her well in the future with the project.
Councillor McBride thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and hoped to see some success coming out of the outlined project. He stated that the problem of alcohol had to be tackled from a high level but with 80% of taxes being received from the sale of alcohol, he could not see the government taking the first step as they had too much to lose.
Ms Mullan stated that 48% of the health budget was made up from public spending and a large amount of that budget was spent on mental health issues caused by alcohol abuse. She added that there was a political aspect and that a debate was needed in relation to early intervention, which could lead to a reduction of mental health issues, and a saving in the budget which could be re-invested elsewhere.
Councillor Boyle thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and stated that the 3 strands mentioned earlier were vital in order to tackle the huge problem of alcohol abuse. She added that parents and schools needed to be looking for behavioural issues within children and young people that could be linked to the abuse of alcohol. She raised the following issue:
• Early intervention by educating even primary school children
Ms Mullan stated that they had links with the various education boards on both sides of the border and would link with any organisation in order to raise awareness of the problem. Their focus was on vulnerable children and training was available on the hidden harm that stemmed from alcohol abuse. She added that they presently worked with the Western Education & Library Board (WELB) Youth Service and a variety of pastoral organisations in order to reach out to as many young people as possible to make them aware of the harm caused by alcohol abuse.
The Chairman thanked Ms Mullan for her presentation and stated that alcohol abuse was a huge problem that needed to be tackled quickly to alleviate as much suffering as possible to the abuser and their family.
Ms Mullan left the Chamber.
Report by Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure
The Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure (HCAL) presented her report. Arising out of the report the following was discussed.
The HCAL advised Members that a number of capital projects were now at an advanced design stage and approval was being sought to proceed with the development of economic appraisals to support the business case for funding bids as required.
In response to a query from Council Hussey regarding affordability, the HCAL stated that there would be a Capital Funding Meeting shortly and the ultimate decision in relation to the various projects would lie with Members.
It was agreed to proceed with the development of the appraisals as outlined above.
Healthy Living Exercise Trail
Councillors Boyle and McNulty declared an interest as members of Sigersons.
The HCAL advised Members that the Public Health Agency (PHA) had increased their level of funding offer to £27,500 in support of the above project. She added that the offer was however conditional on match funding being available. She further advised Members that Sigersons GAC had agreed to support the project with a financial contribution of £5,000 and through active participation in the management of the site. She added that with the projected overall cost estimate now £60,000 and with the offer from PHA being timebound, there was an urgency to secure the remaining match funding to allow implementation of the project before March 2011. The HCAL added that the detailed design specification was being reviewed to identify possible cost savings in a bid to reduce the funding deficit.
In response to a query from Councillor McMenamin, the HCAL stated that there was a shortfall of approximately £22,000 but a cocktail of funding was being looked at to make up the deficit.
The HCAL advised Members that the Loughs Agency had confirmed that it would work in partnership with the Council and undertake the management of the previously agreed phase 2 project at the above site which was estimated to cost between £30,000 - £50,000. She added that it was hoped the project would commence in October 2010.
In response to a query from Councillor Hussey the HCAL stated that the above amount only covered the design process and was the equivalent of less than 1% of the rates figure.
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty, the HCAL stated that the technical issues had been appraised and addressed and that the Loughs Agency was keen to commence the work.
The HCAL advised Members that a community consultation process was being undertaken by Donegal County Council in partnership with Strabane District Council on 29 September at which a presentation on the impact of the conflict study would be given. She added that it was also intended to establish a cross border and cross community forum, made up of key stakeholders from the area to identify possible users of the site.
Castlederg Shared Spaces
The HCAL advised Members that an interagency meeting had taken place to discuss the design solutions in respect of the Castlederg site and issues such as community ownership, levels of anti-social activity and protection and profiling of the Castle site were also discussed. She stated that feedback from the meeting would be discussed at the Shared Spaces Forum meeting on 13 October 2010, together with future development plans.
Councillor Hussey stated that although he welcomed the development of the Castle site, concerns had been raised in relation to other sites within the area.
In response to a query from Councillor Foley, the HCAL stated that the Castle site had always been the main issue but there was hopefully potential, through the Shared Spaces Programmes, for other sites within the area.
Western Regional Tourism Partnership (WRTP)
The HCAL referred to two DVDs which had been distributed to Members at the meeting and advised that they related to the WRTP launch of two recently completed European funded projects; ‘The Good Food Live Project’ and ‘Uncover Our Stories with Just One Click’. She added that the launch was set for 3 November in The Burnavon Arts Centre and a press launch would also be held in Dublin to target the media industry, tour operators and hotel franchises.
Councillor Hussey requested that the launch in The Burnavon Arts Centre should be open to all Members.
Support for Sport Grand Aid
The HCAL advised Members that the closing date for the next round of funding under the Support for Sport Grant Aid Programme was 13 October 2010.
Sports Development Programmes
Approval was granted for the following programmes:
Coach education programme including club governance, child protection, first aid and disability awareness within clubs to ensure they were eligible to apply for Council funding at a cost of £5,000.
Men’s health awareness evenings delivered in partnership with Derry Healthy Cities at a cost of £2000.
Ulster Sports Exhibition
The HCAL advised Members that the Ulster Sports Museum Association had developed an exhibition which celebrated some of the North’s greatest sporting achievements. She stated that the exhibition would be available to tour Northern Ireland in 2011 and 2012 and that it was proposed to host it in the Strabane District Council area, with a local dimension being developed to complement it.
The HCAL advised Members that a number of olympic initiatives had been launched aimed at securing volunteer engagement within the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games official venues. She added that opportunities in relation to games makers and the Northern Ireland bursary scheme had previously been circulated for Members’ consideration together the dates of forthcoming training events for volunteers. She further advised Members that Local Government was invited to become involved by promoting the registration process within the local community and also by considering sponsoring a volunteer within the district to become an Olympic volunteer. The latter involves a £1,500 bursary which would be matched by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). An open call, closing on 29 September 2010 had been made for organisations wishing to become involved.
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty the HCAL advised that each individual bursary would be £1500.
Councillor Hussey stated that being fully aware of the forthcoming financial restraints of Council; he thought that an interest in the initiative should be declared with no commitment being taken until after the selection process. Council would then be able to ascertain how many bursaries were needed and the total outlay involved. The CE concurred with Councillor Hussey’s remarks.
The initiative was agreed in principle, subject to funding being available.
Impact Youth Awards 2010
The HCAL updated Members in relation to the above Awards by advising them that shortlisting of the candidates had now been undertaken. She added that the final award ceremony would take place on 6 October 2010 in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast and six places had been allocated to the young people to attend the event. Two awards would be made at the ceremony: - (1) The winners of the Junior and Senior sections as selected by the judges; and (2) The People’s Choice Award.
Members’ would be kept informed regarding the outcome of the final.
Donemana Inclusive Play Project
The HCAL advised Members that the Donemana Inclusive Play project had now been completed. She added that the second element of the programme supported by Peace III, involving a play activity programme based on a good relations ethos would be delivered from 30 September to 21 October 2010 and involved the four local primary schools; Altishane, Loughash, St Patrick’s and Donemana. A programme of activity would also be delivered in conjunction with the Drummond Centre Project to provide activities for local teenagers.
The HCAL stated that the launch of the facility would take place on 22 October 2010 at 11am and an invitation would be extended to Members to attend the event.
The HCAL advised Members that a Christmas Illuminations meeting would be held on 30 September at 12noon at the Council offices with community groups to review the delivery of the Council’s Christmas Illuminations Programme. Members’ were invited to attend.
As Councillors McNulty, McMenamin, O’Kane and Kerrigan advised that they were unable to attend the meeting, it was agreed that a preliminary meeting would take place on the 30 September and feedback would be given to Members before any decision was taken.
Play & Leisure Partnership Model
The HCAL advised Members that a presentation by OFMDFM at the Play Strategy Partnership meeting had outlined the proposals for supporting the development of partnerships at local level. She added that funding support of £10,000 would be available on a competitive basis to selected partnerships to support the work and stated that an expression of interest had been submitted highlighting Council’s interest in participating in the development of local play and leisure partnerships. A further meeting had been arranged which would be attended by Officers and Members would be advised of the outcome in due course.
Following a query from Councillor Hussey the HCAL stated that the funding support was £10,000 per partnership, not per Council and she would confirm the global amount available for the above model.
Regional Infrastructure Programme
Councillor O’Kane declared an interest as a member of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).
The HCAL advised Members that in response to queries regarding the funding provision through the Regional Infrastructure Programme, funding was currently provided to 10 organisations which included; The Churches Community Work Alliance, the Women’s Regional Partnership, CO3 - Chief Officers 3rd Sector, Advice NI, Law Centre NI, Citizen’s Advice, Community Evaluation NI, Community Change and Volunteer Now. She further advised Members that funding provided to those organisations was solely for their operation at a regional level and local bodies did not benefit financially from the funding which was allocated.
The HCAL added that currently Council only provided funding to CAB to solely support the operational costs of running a specialised advice centre for the Strabane district.
Public art Sculpture Project- Boston College
The HCAL advised Members that confirmation had been received from Boston College indicating that Council had been successful in obtaining a public art piece, a replica of the Berlin Wall and the anticipated delivery date was 1 November 2010. She added that the potential of the piece was as a vehicle for dialogue around the theme of “time and place” which formed the basis of an arts development programme to be delivered to local schools across the district. Eleven schools had been selected to work individually on each piece with each of the pieces being brought together and showcased externally on a single or a number of sites across the district.
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty the HCAL stated that the finished piece of art would be displayed within the area, although it was proving difficult to get a permanent site.
In response to a query from Councillor Hussey the HCAL stated that the finished sculpture could be showcased at the various schools involved in the project.
Councillor McMenamin stated that he was delighted with the project as it was the first steps with Boston and it could lead to future partnerships.. He added that the showcasing of the finished sculpture should include cross border venues. The HCAL stated that the issue could be discussed in detail at the next Working Group Meeting.
Members’ approval was sought to deliver the Spring Arts Programme across the Council area. The programme aimed to provide opportunities for adults and children to participate in a series of arts based activities. Emphasis would be placed on developing skills in community theatre, particularly engaging groupings that did not historically engage in the arts.
On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor McMahon, approval was given to deliver a Spring Arts Programme across the Council area at a cost of £6500.
Community Safety Wardens (CPS) Briefing Session
The HCAL advised Members that an information session would be held for both Councillors and CSP members on 30 September 2010 at 9.15am, prior to the CSP meeting. She stated that a draft of the proposed terms of reference had previously been circulated for Members’ information.
In response to a query from Councillor McBride, the HCAL stated that payment of the wardens was grant secured and that they had no powers.
Review of District Policing Partnerships (DPP) and Community Safety Partnerships (CSP) update
The HCAL advised Members that a proposed new structure for the operation of DPPs and CSPs would form part of the new Justice Bill which would be tabled for consideration by the Assembly in October. In line with this, a policy paper would be circulated over the coming weeks to key stakeholders to inform them of what was being included in the Bill and the implications it would have for delivery at a local level. She added that the timeframe for the implementation of the new structure was the Autumn of 2011 and in order for Councils to be ready for the implementation date, a review of the current structures would have to be considered and a new structure agreed by January 2011.
Interreg IV Healthy Living Programme
Members were advised that the healthy living programme had been submitted for assessment by the SEUPB programmes body.
Peace III Cultural, Heritage and Identity programme
The HCAL advised Members that the Peace III Cultural, Heritage and Identity programme would be hosting the following events:
Halloween Fun Day
The HCAL stated that a Halloween Fun Day would be held on 30 October 2010 in the Old Lifford Court House as part of the fringe events for the touring exhibition about the Plantation of Ulster. The exhibition ‘Your Place or Mine’ would also be on display in Lifford at this time. A series of tours involving characters based on people from the Plantation days would also take place at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Members were invited to attend whenever possible.
The HCAL stated that a series of Symposiums would be held over November and December aimed at generating discussion and debate about heritage and identity issues. The focus would be on the Plantation of Ulster, which was a key theme of the project. She added that the symposiums would be hosted by a high profile presenter and involved three to four guest panellists. The panel members would change from each location and the following had been proposed:
Duke of Abercorn
The panel names for the Derry and Omagh seminars were yet to be confirmed.
The HCAL advised that recently received information in relation to the Plantation of Ulster Exhibition would be tabled for Members’ information at the Environmental Committee Meeting.
In response to a query from Councillor Hussey, the HCAL stated that the panel members were chosen as it was deemed they were good at presenting and debating.
Lifelong Learning programme
The HCAL advised Members that funding opportunities under the Lifelong Learning Programme were currently being explored and included the Vocational Education and Training ECOTEC programmes for developing partnerships, hosting study visits and mobility for trainees and staff. She added that opportunities under the Leonardo, Transversal and Grundtwig were being investigated and support workshops would be held for interested applicants.
Rural Development Programme
The HCAL advised Members that a number of grant submissions were currently being assessed under the programme which included multi use games areas, an arts development project and the Foyle Wetlands project. She added that a full report on the status of the applications would be brought to Members in due course.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, the HCAL’s report was adopted.
Any Other Business
Special Meeting of Council
The CE advised Members that the Special Meeting of Council to discuss the Capital Development Programme had been rescheduled from 6 October 2010 to 1 November 2010.
National Tourism Conference, November 2010, Ennistymon, Co Clare at estimated cost £547.90 depending on delegate requirements. Costings and programme had been distributed for Members’ attention.
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Bresland, it was agreed that Councillor McMenamin could attend the above conference.
On the proposal of Councillor McMahon, seconded by Councillor McNulty, it was agreed that the meeting would go ‘into committee’.
The meeting ended at 9.55pm.