Youth club call is made for estates

CALLS for funding to create youth club facilities in the Shankill and Wakehurst estates have been made during a public meeting on anti-social behaviour in the area.

Located in one of the most deprived areas of Lurgan, the estates have been plagued by anti-social behaviour over many years.

Residents, community workers, councillors and the neighbourhood police attended a meeting last week at Mount Zion House.

There were calls for a neighbourhood watch scheme and proper facilities for the youth in the area.

SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said the area was crying out for facilities for the youth and there needed to be funding for a club.

He said most areas had youth club facilities but this was seriously lacking in the Shankill and Wakehurst estates.

Mr McAlinden said police were keen to help the local community set up a neighbourhood watch scheme particularly after a spate of burglaries - in broad daylight - in the Silverwood Drive area.

There also has been a number of arson attacks, knife crime and wanton violence against people and property over the past number of years, leaving many of the older members of the community feeling vulnerable and afraid to venture out at night.

Kids on drugs and abusing alcohol have been blamed on much of the anti-social behaviour.

It has been widely recognised that much of this crime has been carried out by a small minority of youths with the majority of people in the estates preferring to live in peace.

Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team also attended the meeting and said they understood how ‘antisocial behaviour can seriously affect the quality of life of people living in areas where it is prevalent and also the feeling of community.

They told the Mail: “Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team are aware of the feelings of vulnerability and intimidation that antisocial behaviour can engender and are committed to tackling this issue through education and enforcement.”

Constable Crossey and Constable Sproule are local beat officers for the Shankill/Wakehurst area and ‘are working hard to provide a personal and professional service to the community there’.

Con Crossey explained: “We are talking to the local community, listening to their concerns and working to find solutions. We are spending time in the neighbourhood and talking to young people about antisocial behaviour and criminality and explaining the consequences. We are also apprehending those involved in this type of activity.”

Con Sproule continued: “We are asking residents in Shankill/Wakehurst to support us in our efforts by reporting any suspicious or criminal activity to us as promptly as possible.

“Our main aim is to reduce the number of victims of crime and improve the quality of life of all residents.

“By working together we have already achieved a decrease in the number of antisocial incidents and we want this to continue.”

If you would like to contact Con Sproule or Con Crossey you can phone Lurgan Neighbourhood Office on 3831 5355 or email nptlurgan@psni.pnn.police.uk