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Ballymena Housing Group Targets New Homes

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A new housing group has been established in Ballymena to build strong community relations and help new homes become a key part of the local area.

The Shared Housing Joint Advisory Group was created by three housing associations: Radius Housing, Choice and Triangle Housing Association. All three companies are developing or managing shared housing developments in the Ballymena area.

Under the new group, the housing associations will connect local people and new tenants with key stakeholders, including community and statutory organisations.

During the group's first meeting last month, 30 November, the housing associations welcomed members of the voluntary and statutory sector, including Mid & East Antrim Council, Health Trusts, PSNI, Schools, Churches and charities.

Speaking at the first meeting, Grainne Mullin, Community Investment Manager from Radius Housing, said: "This is an exciting partnership between Radius, Choice and Triangle Housing Association, which will develop opportunities in the Ballymena area. By working in partnership we are stronger and can ensure that the new shared housing developments become an integral part of the local community and play a role in bringing positive change to the Ballymena area. Having developed and managed shared housing across Northern Ireland, we have seen first-hand how it can transform local relationships and we hope that we will see the same here."

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The group will oversee the delivery of the Good Relations Plans for each Housing Association, which will engage citizens to design, deliver and develop programmes to be an integral part of the local community.

The Department for Communities aims to deliver 200 shared housing units each year through the 'Housing for All' Shared Housing programme. Shared status is awarded when allocations to the scheme have resulted in one community not being in the dominance of more than 70%. It brings an opportunity where people from diverse backgrounds can choose to live in a shared neighbourhood.

The Shared Housing projects in Ballymena include Choice's Nursery Close, which was an investment of £2.3m, Triangle Housing's new developments at Galgorm Road, Regents Park and Broadway Avenue totalling an investment of £8m, and Radius Housing's 135 home project at the former St Patrick's Barracks site, where construction of the £26m development is due to begin next year.

These are supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive's 'Housing for All' Shared Housing Programme.  The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive's commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.

Richard Mealey, Community Development Manager from Choice Housing, commented: "Choice Housing are delighted to be joined by our colleagues in Triangle and Radius in delivering the Housing For All programme in Ballymena. We are confident that this collaboration will help us to build on the significant Good Relations work we have already delivered within Ballymena and the surrounding community to date, and that it will allow us to have an even greater impact within this community. Working together with Triangle and Radius, as well as stakeholders and groups from across Ballymena, we look forward to developing and delivering further Good Relations initiatives here as well as in Dungannon, Lisburn, Ballynahinch and Saintfield where we are also involved in the delivery of this highly important programme."

Maurice Millar, Housing Manager for Triangle Housing added: "Triangle Housing is very well known in the Ballymena area as a provider of high quality, affordable social housing and for its social enterprise initiative, Alternative Angles. Triangle looks forward to building strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with Choice and Radius Housing, via the Local Advisory Group."

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