Northern Ireland Alternatives AGM Great Success!

Posted October 14, 2012 by Shankill Alternatives in Updates

Northern Ireland Alternatives Annual General Meeting at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road was full of a wide range of people.  Representatives of all the main statutory agencies from the PSNI, Housing Executive , the Prison Service to the Health Trust and even the Department of Justice rubbed shoulders with young people, local residents and community workers from communities across the divide.  The one hundred and fifty in attendence were welcomed by NIA new Chairperson Rev Dr Gary Mason of East Belfast Mission and NIA Director Tom Winstone quickly went through the formalities of the election of NIA new board and the financial report.

The remainder of the event was facilitated by Debbie Watters NIA Assistant Director who began with an over view of the wide range of services that Alternatives provide in local communities.  Throughout the event there were inputs from project staff, volunteers, youth participants,partners, and victims supported by Alternatives.  This helped the audience get an understanding of both the range and quality of the work Alternatives delivers.  The guest speaker at the event was Judith Gillespie OBE Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI and she spoke of the journey that NIA and restorative justice in Northern Ireland has made.  She acknowledged the valuable work NIA have played in the developing partnership with the police and addressing crime and anti-social behaviour and even got a plug for the forth coming Police & Fire Service World Games coming to Belfast next year.

The event concluded with a very powerful testimony of a mother sharing her story  of her son’s involvement in anti-social behaviour and drugs and the impact it had on her and her family. She gave a very emotional account of her own personal struggle and how she got much needed support from Alternatives to help her and her son through the chaos.  The event was a showcase of the of work that Alternatives provide across the community and was evidence of the valuable contribution restorative justice is having in transforming the most needy communities and the lives of those who live in these communities.


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