Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Councillor Roisin Mulgrew met with members of the Newry, Mourne and Down Strategic Stakeholder Forum at P.I.P.S. Newry on 7 September 2017 as part of the launch celebrations of the Newry, Mourne and Down Community Plan - ‘Living Well Together’.

The organisations have been meeting regularly as the ‘Strategic Stakeholder Forum’ (SSF) for the Community and Voluntary Sector working with Newry, Mourne and Down Community Planning Partnership to produce the Community Plan - ‘Living Well Together’. This plan provides an exciting new vision for the future and represents a new way for community planning partners to work together to improve the quality of life for local people.

Councillor Mulgrew said, “P.I.P.S is one of a number of local community umbrella groups and larger charities representing the wider community’s interests that have come together to influence how local services and government resources are being allocated across Newry, Mourne and Down.”

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Councillor Roisin Mulgrew is pictured with members of the Newry, Mourne and Down Strategic Stakeholder Forum at P.I.P.S. Newry as part of the launch celebrations of the Newry, Mourne and Down Community Plan - ‘Living Well Together’. L-R: Deborah Boden – Down Community Transport Seamus McCabe – PIPs Newry and Mourne Eileen Murphy – Womens Aid, Armagh and Down  Stephen McClelland – N & M Enterprise Agency Nicholas McCrickard – County Down Rural Community Network
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Councillor Roisin Mulgrew is pictured with members of the Newry, Mourne and Down Strategic Stakeholder Forum at P.I.P.S. Newry as part of the launch celebrations of the Newry, Mourne and Down Community Plan - ‘Living Well Together’. L-R: Deborah Boden – Down Community Transport Seamus McCabe – PIPs Newry and Mourne Eileen Murphy – Womens Aid, Armagh and Down Stephen McClelland – N & M Enterprise Agency Nicholas McCrickard – County Down Rural Community Network

Councillor Mulgrew continued, “I wish to acknowledge, especially on World Suicide Prevention Day, the important work being undertaken by P.I.P.S to raise awareness of mental health preventative and treatment programmes across other community and voluntary organisations and the wider community.”

The SSF has now elected its first joint Chairpersons who are Nicholas McCrickard, County Down Rural Community Network and Rosemarie McDonnell, Citizens Advice Newry, Mourne and Down.  They will also participate in the main Community Planning Partnership Board for Newry, Mourne and Down on behalf of the Strategic Stakeholder Forum.

SSF Joint Chairperson Rosemarie McDonnell said, “Both Nicholas and I are delighted to be part of the Strategic Stakeholder Forum and to be joint Chairpersons. Community Planning is about empowerment, making better informed decisions and sustainability. It is the vehicle through which we in the Community and Voluntary sector can provide input to and participate in improving local service delivery and infrastructure. We look forward to engaging with all agencies involved. The SSF ensures that there is community involvement at all levels of the Community Planning process, including participation from the seven local District Electoral Area Forums, the Thematic Groups and the Community Planning Partnership Board.”

SSF Joint Chairperson Nicholas McCrickard continued, “A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ for the Strategic Stakeholder Forum has been developed, which outlines a vision to coordinate and communicate the priorities of the Voluntary and Community sector and to act as a vehicle with which to engage with Newry, Mourne and Down Community Planning Partnership on an on-going basis. Members of the Strategic Stakeholder Forum are committed to using the Memorandum to get the voice of the Community and Voluntary sector heard in Community Planning.”

The SSF has also agreed twelve representatives who will sit on the respective Community Planning thematic groups of Environment and Spatial Development, Health and Wellbeing, Economic Development, Regeneration and Tourism and Safety and Good Relations. All Forum members are committed to making Community Planning work for the people of Newry, Mourne and Down and the SSF will continue to develop and grow.