As Belfast prepares its recovery from COVID-19, residents are being asked to reconsider the long-term vision for the city and review the priorities previously set out in The Belfast Agenda, the city’s community plan.
First published in 2017, The Belfast Agenda sets out a joint vision for the city up to 2035. It includes a number of ambitions including creating 46,000 new jobs, attracting 66,000 people to live in the city, reducing the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods by 33 per cent, and ensuring every young person leaving school has a destination that fulfils their potential.
A public consultation and engagement exercise is now underway to consider if the original vision and the outcomes that people said that they wanted are still applicable, and if priorities that have been identified for the next four years should change.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “In the last few years, massive strides have been made in areas that we and our partners agreed were priorities for the city when we first published The Belfast Agenda. Over the period of the first community plan, jobs in the city increased by over 10,000; the number of businesses increased by almost 10%; almost 5,000 more people were living in Belfast; and the estimated spend by visitors on overnight trips increased by 50 per cent.
“Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID-19 mean that conditions locally and globally have changed, so shorter term targets are going to be impacted. But we want to make sure that we get back on track and make a strong recovery as quickly as possible for the benefit of everyone in the city.
“Agreeing economic, social, wellbeing and environmental priorities for the next four years will guide the actions of Belfast’s community planning partners, so this review is an extremely important piece of work.
“We want to make sure that the public has the opportunity to influence our approach and shape our priorities for the next four years and beyond, so I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and help shape Belfast’s future.”
There are 14 statutory community planning partners in Belfast who together with the city’s higher and further education institutions, private sector and the wider community, including the community and voluntary sector jointly signed up to the original vision and priorities identified in The Belfast Agenda. The statutory partners include Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, Education Authority, Health and Social Care Board, Invest NI, Libraries NI, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Public Health Agency, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Sport NI and Tourism NI.
To find out more and to take part in the public consultation, visit yoursay.belfastcity.gov.uk