Date: 03/05/2012 Category: Eu projects
A European project designed to help local people direct changes to their area has launched in Medway.
The cross border project – Project DNA (Disadvantaged Neighbourhood Action) involves four European partners – bringing together communities from Medway, Antwerp and Kortrijk in Belgium and Breda in the Netherlands.
Funded by EU money under the Interreg IV A 2 Seas programme, DNA is aimed at getting residents involved in their local area and allowing them to make decisions about how they’d like to see money spent to improve their community.
The Medway project will focus on the area in and around the centre of Chatham with nearly £145,000 worth of funding available.
Residents will be able to decide how some of the money could be spent to improve the appearance of their area, including public spaces and street improvements, through a residents working party that’s been set up.
The working party will also be consulted on plans to invest the funding in safer community schemes around the area and the development of outreach health services within the community.
European delegates from partner cities and representatives from NHS Kent and Medway and Kent Police were in Medway to launch the project last week, joined by residents who will make up the working party here in Medway.
The residents’ group will include residents from the area, members of existing community groups and representatives from voluntary organisations, including Caring Hands in Medway, the Youth Forum and Medway Youth Parliament.
Sandra Fowler, from New Road Avenue, Chatham, and a member of the Gibraltar Terrace Residents’ Association, said: “This project is not only an opportunity to have input into physical improvements in the town centre, it’s also a chance to raise awareness about Chatham and what it has to offer.
“As a resident, I see Chatham as a lively, friendly place, I like the mix of people here, the real history there is and I want to be able to get involved in helping the area prosper.”
David Gutteridge from High Street, Chatham, will chair the new residents’ group. He said: “This project is a way of helping people feel that they can make a contribution to their local area, and hopefully will help the community in a range of ways, particularly those who are long term unemployed.”
Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, said: “We’ve always said how important it is that residents can truly benefit from the regeneration of their area.
“What’s exciting about this project, is that it also gives residents the opportunity to get involved with the regeneration of their area, to learn from other communities across Europe and make decisions based on what’s important to them.”