Doury Road Estate is located on the edge of Ballymena town in North County Antrim. Built in the 1960s to provide housing for over 500 families, the estate has had a chequered history and is now a mixture of owner-occupier and rented housing from both private landlords and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Just 120 houses are occupied and the physical dereliction of the area is in stark contrast to neighbouring estates.
Doury Road Development Group, a local residents’ group established in 2008, seeks to support, develop and improve the quality of life for all the residents of Doury Road and runs the CFNI Communities in Action project here.
We have highlighted the run-down nature of the estate in a film we made as part of the CiA collaboration which you can watch here.
This film is the copyright of Doury Road Development Group and the CiA collaboration.
As part of the Communities in Action (CiA) programme we have set up two focus groups with residents from a range of different backgrounds to understand how benefit cuts, welfare reform and rising household costs are affecting us, our families and the choices we now make.
From our community conversations people reported concerns about how run down the estate is and how this makes them feel. The abandoned Community Centre and wide scale demolition of derelict properties is a reminder of the raw deal that Doury Road residents feel they have been dealt:
We did have a Community Centre, it was condemned because of the asbestos roof. And now we have nothing.
We also found that the cost of home heating and of filling the oil tank is a common worry. This is having an environmental impact, too, with more householders resorting to burning coal. In some cases this issue is made worse by lack of essential repairs. As one focus group participant reported:
They (the Northern Ireland Housing Executive) put new insulation in the roof but what’s the point whenever the wind is coming in through the rotten window frames?
The Doury Road has nothing, we’re the forgotten estate . . .
This research has helped us as a residents association to identify people’s needs and to do something about it. Through CiA we are developing a range of initiatives including cooking on a budget, cooking for families and raising awareness about the need for environmental improvements.
The focus group discussions have allowed people to share their anxieties and worries and have encouraged people to seek advice. They have also enabled us to signpost people to other agencies for further support, and more people are volunteering to help with the Group’s community activities.
For more information on the CiA programme in Doury Road, please contact Jan Roscoe.