25 Nov 2022

Keeping community at the heart of housing in Derry-Londonderry

Last week CIH were invited to a number of sites in the Northwest to see the positive impact social housing is having in local communities. Both Apex Housing Association and Radius Housing welcomed members of our staff team and members of our Ireland and Northern Ireland boards to their sites in the Creggan and Skeoge areas of the city.

The delegation visited the Sean Dolan's GAC site which is set to house over 100 families in lifetime homes upon completion in what has been historically an area of high housing need. The development includes the refurbishment of the existing clubhouse facilities and a new multi-use games area (MUGA) for the benefit of the entire community, including club members and residents.

Following this, the group were welcomed at the Ballymagowan allotments, an initiative managed on a day-to-day basis by Triax Neighbourhood Management Team on behalf of Apex; a community facility providing social inclusion for residents and a supplier of fresh vegetables to the Foyle Foodbank. The scheme was recognised for their impact within the community by winning the ‘more than bricks and mortar’ award at the CIH All-Ireland awards in May 2022.

Apex Housing Association invited the team to learn more about the work of its social supermarket; an initiative which helps 50 families on a weekly basis by providing food and other necessities. Alongside receiving weekly groceries, participants receive wraparound support including welfare advice and counselling services upon request. The team finished the day by visiting Skeoge Community Hub located in Clon Dara – a space used to foster community cohesion and resident interaction.

Bridie Doherty, area housing manager at Radius Housing, commented:

“So many people within our communities work daily to provide tenants with more than just a home; they work to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives – the social value and impact of this cannot be underestimated – particularly during this unprecedented cost of living and energy crisis.”

Donna Matthewson, director of housing at Apex Housing Association commented:

“It was a pleasure for Apex to facilitate the CIH site visit to a number of invaluable community projects throughout the city to highlight some of the great work that is happening during these challenging times. Apex is very much aware of the increasing need for these vital wraparound services to support our communities and tenants, and fully recognises the importance of working in collaboration to continue to deliver positive outcomes for our tenants and communities.”

James Prestwich, CIH director of policy and external affairs, commented:

“It was a privilege to visit a number of schemes and initiatives in Derry-Londonderry and see first-hand the innovative work that is ongoing to serve tenants and communities across the city. We know that providers do so much more than simply manage tenancies and the work of Radius and Apex alongside community partners are a fantastic example of that.”