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Templegrove Action Research Limited:
A Public Hearing on Minority Experiences in Derry Londonderry, Part 5



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Text: Ruth Moore, Pauline Collins, Dave Duggan & Marie Smyth ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

5

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following are the focussed recommendations which we consider have emerged, and which we have extracted from the submissions made during the hearing.

Recommendations

From a Muslim perspective.

1-The Western Library & Education Board should provide books and other educational materials which may help children to gain knowledge about Islam.

2 - That provision is made for classes on Islam as an option for children and adults

3 - That Derry City Council provide assistance in establishing a Community Centre in which the needs of the Islamic community can be met, and inter-faith exchanges can take place.

4 - That Derry City Council give priority to the provision of a burial ground for the local Muslim community.

From a parent of an adult with learning difficulties

5 - That the Health and Social Services Boards and the Education and Library Boards embark on a public awareness-raising strategy in relation to the needs of adults with mild learning disabilities.

6 - That the statutory agencies actively encourage the identification of young adults with mild learning disabilities as a separate minority group with their own distinct needs.

7 - That the Education and Social Services authorities set up a referral scheme to facilitate entry of young adults with a mild learning disability into local groups and agencies.

From Foyle Homeless

8 - That future housing policy be formulated around the principal of a universal right to a safe and secure home.

9 - Retrograde changes in housing and other benefits which will act to increase the problem of homeless people should be opposed by all public bodies and public representatives.

10 - That the housing authorities stop reducing public housing stock, and build more public housing, since reductions in public housing stock have negative implications for homeless people

11 - That the housing authorities re-evaluate the new type of tenant in the housing market, and make provision for a mixed culture of housing provision, aimed at establishing a variety of tenant types in any future housing development.

12 - That the Northern Ireland Housing Executive consult at an early stage in planning with representatives of homeless people about the kind and type of new housing provision.

From the North West Visually Impaired Association

Shopping
13 - That the local Chamber of Trade and the Retail Associations in the town educate their members about the importance of improved layouts and staff practices in supermarkets and other shops in order to assist the visually impaired shopper e.g. products should be accessibly placed or a member of staff designated to assist visually impaired shoppers.

Transport
14 - That Ulsterbus, Northern Ireland Railways and other transport providers should consider the needs of visually impaired people when planning and providing transport services.

15 - Public transport vehicles should be more accessible e.g. steps are often too high.

Public Information
16 - All public information should be available in suitable format. Current initiatives and campaigns should address this immediately for example publicity on the City Partnership's "Vision for the City" and on the fluoridation consultation should be available in braille, large print and audio tape.

Banking
17 - Cheque books should be in larger print for partially sighted customers.

Prescriptions
18 - Information on the back of prescriptions cannot be read by visually impaired people. The section for signing should be in large print.

Traffic Lights
19 - Appropriate signalling should be provided at all traffic light junctions to enable visually impaired and blind people to use junctions safely. It should be remembered that many visually impaired people also have a hearing impairment.

Public Highway / Footpaths
20 - Public highways and footpaths should be kept free from obstructions. Shop owners should be prohibited from putting signage and A boards on footpaths. Motorists should be prohibited from parking on footpaths and where such laws exist they should be enforced.

From The Rainbow Trust

21 - HIV and AIDS awareness and education work should be properly resourced in order to enable the continuation and expansion of HIV and AIDS education in homes, schools, social venues and in workplaces.

22 - Research is required into the effects of HIV/AIDS in the North West. Research into safe sexual practices in the wider community is also required.

23 - A forum should be established where family members and carers of people living with HIV/AIDS or those who may have experienced a loss due to an AIDS related illness can come together and share experiences.

24 - More networking with statutory, voluntary, community and other minority groups who share the same aims and objectives (on prevention, education and research into the HIV virus) should be facilitated by the statutory authorities.

From a Lesbian/Bisexual perspective

25 - Anti-homophobia training should be established within the police force, civil service, health authorities and education authorities, and amongst the staff who would come into contact with gay people in their professional and working lives

26 - A community police force which is effective in protecting the gay and lesbian community against homophobic attacks is urgently required. When such attacks do take place, this police force should be capable of thoroughly investigating all complaints of the gay and lesbian community and prosecuting perpetrators.

From the North West Forum for People with Disabilities

27 - The Department of Environment should improve access to the public buildings and places and provide a public transport system which is accessible to all citizens.

28 - That Derry City Council review their service provision for example sport and leisure amenities.

29 - The Western Education and Library Board provide inclusive education which serves the needs of disabled people.

30 -The Western Health and Social Services Board improve their service to people with

disabilities. e.g. shorten the time span on Occupational Therapist waiting list for aids and equipment and provide services locally so people with disabilities do not have to travel to Belfast for consultations.

31 - The Training and Employment Agency should ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against in employment. Also the T&EA should provide services to assist people with disabilities to compete equally on the open labour market.

32 - The Department Health and Social Services should provide their information in a manner which is accessible to all i.e. large print, audio cassette, computer disk, braille, video tape for deaf people, appropriate language for people with learning disabilities. They should also promote their services to everyone.

33 - The Northern Ireland Housing Executive should provide more accessible housing for people with disabilities.

From the Fountain Area Partnership

34 - That the situation of Protestants living in the Fountain be regarded as an issue of minority rights, and that the majority in the city, and their representatives, should strive to respect and protect the rights of people who continue to live in the Fountain.

35 - Statutory authorities should recognise that facilities may be needed within the Fountain to serve small numbers of people who live there, because of the enclave nature of the community.

36 - Funding applications for projects in the Fountain should be regarded favourably, and funding allocation should not be decided on a per capita basis, because of the decline in population in the area.

From a young Protestant woman

37 - That the name of the city be recognised as Londonderry as well as Derry.

38 - That night clubs become safe places for all individuals, including Protestants.

39 - That all streets are made safe for everyone, irrespective of religion, and that the right to walk on the street without being called names related to one's religion is affirmed.

40 - That the right of Protestants to live in their homes without fear is affirmed

From Hearing Concern

41 - That public awareness of the needs of hard of hearing people (as distinct from the needs of deaf people) be increased.

42 - A range of services designed to meet the needs of hard of hearing people should be put in place. These range from proper professional help to graphic advertising and loop systems in public places.

43 - Public bodies should provide appropriate facilities for lip reading in order to serve those members of the public who are hard of hearing.

From a secular perspective

44 - An integrated state education system should be established. Religion should be seen as a private matter, and the religious education of children should be regarded as the sole responsibility of parents.

45 - Individuals, voluntary and state sectors should accept humanism as a viable and sufficient value base for community life.

46 - That the presumption of "Christianity" be avoided.

47 - That facilities for non-religious ceremonies and celebrations be made available by the civil authorities, for example, a crematorium.

From Foyle Friends

48 -That public bodies, community and voluntary groups and other organisations should take responsibility for raising their own awareness of lesbian and gay issues by, for example, inviting representatives of the lesbian and gay groups to address their organisations.

49 - The City Council should establish a building which would be designated for the use of local lesbian and gay groups.

From a parent of a child with disability

50 - Proper local provision for people with disabilities in housing, education, access, transport, finance, health and welfare and facilities for leisure and sport should be established.

51 - A disability officer should be jointly appointed by the public bodies to monitor disabled people's access to existing services and to implement any special recommendations in relation to disability services.

From the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i community of Londonderry

52 - The work and remit of the Community Relations resources of Derry City Council should be widened to encompass the true extent of religious diversity in the city, a move which would be to the benefit of all the people of the district, including those of the two major traditions.

53 - We call on Derry City Council to embark on consultation with local people as part of the United Nations Post-Global Summit Programme with a view to establishing a local "Agenda 21" which will carry the development of Derry into the 21st century. This should be done as a matter of urgency and in a way which will lead to that genuine grassroots empowerment of communities which is a key element of the "Agenda 21" process.

From Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Equality

54 - That the city and the appropriate bodies therein note the existence of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Equality the purpose of which is to value and sustain ethnic difference, to ensure that North of Ireland has appropriate anti-racist legislation, to ensure that anti-racist training and education is available to promote the dissemination of advice and information about ethnic and ethnic equality, to seek wider understanding of concern in the field of ethnic equality. Other objectives would be to improve the quality of life among minorities, to engage in, advise or direct research which will have a positive impact on the lives of minorities, to provide and/or facilitate advocacy support for minority and ethnic individuals, to support victims of racial harassment, to develop and implement an effective system to monitor and address incidents of racial harassment.

From a member of the Men's Action Network

55 - That the dangerous nature of stereotypical roles for men is noted, and how these damage the health of individual men, and the quality of life for everyone.

56 - That the city and the appropriate bodies therein note the existence of the Men's Action Network, which has the following aims and objectives:

1. To stimulate the growth of community self help initiatives among men in the North West area.
2. To facilitate communication between men on issues relating to their health, well-being and changing role in society and to help establish such facilities or services deemed necessary.
3. To seek to create new services to meet the current emotional, physical and mental health needs of men.
4. To seek to create pre-emptive support as well as active response to men experiencing crisis.
5. To provide information on issues relating directly to men's health and well-being.
6. To explore and attempt to understand the nature of disadvantage, damage and pain currently experienced, as well as inflicted, by men in our society.
7. To focus and build upon men's desire for useful change to the current male role.
8. To help promote the holistic well-being of society through the participation of men in self-help scenarios which foster respect for both men and women equally. And finally
9. To work in conjunction with women's organisations and other relevant groups towards mutual understanding, social inclusion and equality.

From the Travellers' Support Group

57 - That family housing units be provided by the appropriate authorities for Travelling families

58 - That a community or social centre be provided in the city for the use of the Travelling community

59 - That the City Council and the Courts rigorously examine and monitor the conditions under which Public Entertainments and Liquor licenses are issued to retailers in the city who actively discriminate against Travellers

60 - That public representatives and public bodies use their influence to ensure that any future anti-racist legislation which may be introduced in Northern Ireland will include protection for the Travelling community and outlaw discrimination against Travellers.

61 - That the Education and Library Boards re-examine the educational needs of Travelling children and adults and, where necessary, make special provision to meet those needs.

62 - That public bodies, including the City Council take responsibility for raising the level of public education and understanding about the Travelling community, and set in motion strategies to reduce anti-Traveller racism in the city

From Meanscoile Dhoire

63 - That the Department of Education affirms parents' rights to exercise a real and viable choice over the kind of school their children attend.

64 - That the educational value of education in another language is affirmed and recognised by the education authorities through the provision of resources for such educational provision

65 - That bilingualism as a European trend, in which monolingual children form the minority, is taken into account in the formation future educational policy.

From the Women's Centre

66 - That the right of women to equal participation in public life is affirmed by all public bodies, political parties and institutions. That the goal of 40% female participation rates, agreed by the British and Irish governments at the Bejing Conference in 1995, is adopted by all bodies in the city, and strategies aimed at achieving that goal are immediately designed and implemented.

67 - That statutory responsibility for funding personal development work with women is allocated to a sympathetic government department, and that resources and a strategy for developing this work is put in place.

68 - That free on-site childcare is considered an essential part of any education or training provision used by women, and resources are released to make such provisions on a routine basis.

69 - That women's groups are properly resourced to carry on the important work of women's development, and the contribution of alternative settings for women's education is affirmed.

70 - That educational provision for women with learning difficulties and women with literacy problems be urgently reviewed and improved.

71 - That gender-proofing is implemented on all Partnership Boards and other public and community bodies.

From North West Hard of Hearing Group

72 - Derry City Council and other statutory bodies in the City area should set up a community education programme focussed on the situation of hard of hearing people in order that their needs are more widely understood and appreciated.

73 - Some simple technical devices, such as loop systems should be installed in all public buildings to assist those who are hard of hearing.

From Gingerbread Northern Ireland

74 - In order to counteract the inadequacy of the current hostel accommodation available to newly homeless single parents, the housing authorities should ensure the availability of a supply of self-contained flats for single parents and their children.

75 - Childcare facilities in the statutory and voluntary sector should take account of the specific needs of single parents. More childcare provision, using a sliding scale fee system, should be available , and this should include after school and school holiday provision.

76 - That the priority given to increasing the level of childcare provision in the city as a whole is greatly increased by all public and community bodies.

77 - Social Services should improve and extend their registration of childminders in the city.

78 - Lone parents should be encouraged by Social Services to use registered child minders.

From AWARE

79 - That more resources be devoted by the public, private and voluntary sectors to dealing with depression as a major public health issue.

80 - That public education initiatives about depression be developed.

81 - That the public note the existence of the local AWARE group who offer support to both carers and to people suffering from depression.

From Derry Wellwoman

82 - That all medical services in the city strive to extend their understanding of the specific health needs of women.

83 - That all local organisations recognise that empowering women to understand the health needs of their bodies and minds, and those of their partners and children, can only do good for the health of the community.

From Derry Chinese Community

84 - In recognition of the main problem faced by the Chinese community in the city, the City Council and the Western Health and Social Services Board (or other relevant body) should provide an interpreter service for the Chinese community, so that they can properly access other services such as health, education and welfare services.

From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

85 - That schools include and respect perspectives all religions when teaching religion, either in Religious Education or in General Studies

86 - That the education authorities take up the offer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and those of similar churches to give talks in schools about their religious perspectives, views and beliefs, in order to promote a religious climate of inclusion and mutual respect for diversity.

87 - That the practice of asking people what primary school they went to as a means of determining their religion be abandoned, and replaced with a simple question: "What religion are you?"

88 - That Derry City Council Cleansing Department provide assistance with clearing up the consequences of the regular vandalism to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

89 - That local voluntary organisations and volunteer-seeking projects stop excluding members of the church from volunteer projects on the basis of their church membership.

90 - That local public bodies should offer the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the opportunity to participate in consultations with the community in the planning of local amenities.

91 - That minority churches are included in discussions and exchanges of views amongst the main churches.

92 - That church ministers and clerics should be encouraged to be more open-minded and tolerant when their parishioners wish to become members of another church.

93 - That members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints be afforded the same access to other church's records as other individuals and groups in the community doing genealogical research.

94 - That the local press be more supportive of church activities and views by providing more coverage of church events and perspectives.

From a Sensory Support Service user.

95 - Attention should be given to the difficulties faced by deaf people using the health services, especially to the danger of mis-diagnosis due to communication difficulties.

96 - The availability of sign language, and teachers who are bilingual should be drastically extended.

97 - Education and Training bodies should ensure that deaf school leavers should have access to a range of courses so that deaf people can lead full lives, and play a full part in the life of their community.

Further Recommendations by Templegrove Action Research

98 - This report should be made available to the widest number of people in the city. In particular, formal steps should be taken to ensure that policy makers in the city receive and take note of its findings.

99 - Every opportunity should be taken by policy makers such as the DoE, The City Partnership and Derry City Council to consult with the individuals and groups who made submissions to this hearing when planning services upon which they have made comments here.

100 - The value of including the views of minorities in all planning and public policy should be formally recognised. Proactive steps taken to include minority views should be routinely taken in any future consultation process

101 - The practice of holding 'hearings' should be adopted as a means to increase public and official awareness of the diversity of our city.

102 - Derry City Council, in conjunction with the City Partnership Board, should routinely commission and publish further pieces of action research on the general or specific experiences of minorities in the city, as a means of informing public awareness on these issues.

 

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