'Wildest Dream' project explores residents' hopes for Carrickfergus
A community group is continuing to invite feedback as part of a project encouraging Carrick residents to ‘dream big’ for the future of the town.
Run by Positive Carrickfergus the Wildest Dream initiative poses the question: “What’s your wildest dream for Carrick?”
Positive Carrickfergus is a Community Interest Company of people who live and work in the town, all of whom are doing their bit to make the area a great place to live.
The organisation has grown out of an online community of more than 5,000 people that started in October 2017.
Around 100 of the returned cards are currently on display at the Positive Carrickfergus 'Talking Shop' in The Courtyard.
Volunteers have so far distributed more than 10,000 of the cards in the town and the surrounding area.
Lee Robb, project manager of Positive Carrickfergus said: "There were about 11,500 households in Carrickfergus in 2016; we are aiming for about 12,000 postcards to reach every household so we still have a few areas to cover.
"There are around 100 of the returned cards on display at the moment in the Talking Shop. There are always more coming in, and we have people dropping in for a chat who will give us feedback as well."
Common areas of concern highlighted so far include dog fouling, litter and graffiti, as well as empty shops in the town centre, Lee added. "There are people who have said they would like to see more activities in the town, or something for young people like an ice rink or bowling alley.”
Public health restrictions over the past year have meant more people working from home, leading some to forge a stronger connection with the town and its facilities. "One lady we spoke to who had lived in Carrickfergus for over 40 years, but had only really acquainted herself with Shaftesbury Park because of Covid," Lee said.
"Positive Carrickfergus is about starting these conversations about what's wanted or needed in the town, and the next step is harnessing that desire for change. We have a responsibility to engage in our own town, and it's empowering for people to realise that they can come together as a community and make things happen.
"It's also about tackling some of the negative stereotypes - that there's 'nothing to do' in Carrickfergus, for example. We also want to tackle some of the myths, such as the idea that rates are too high in the town centre. Some of these things can be self-defeating as they might discourage someone from setting up a business in the town centre, but there is help available for rates."
Meanwhile, Positive Carrickfergus is behind the recently-opened Sails and Tales exhibition at the historic Kelly's Coal Office.
The group successfully raised £388 towards creating a virtual tour of the exhibition for people with mobility issues.