PSNI sergeant praised for youth scheme on Harpur’s Hill estate

A COMMUNITY development programme for young people in Harpur’s Hill has been so successful that it’s author, PSNI Sergeant Sean Craig, hopes to replicate it throughout the borough.

While working with teenagers at Sunlea Youth Centre, the local policeman felt it was apparent that many needed guidance or even just information on a range of issues.

According to his boss, Area Commander Nicky Thompson, the sergeant then held a brain storming session to let the kids thrash out their own ideas and identify for themselves which areas they would most like help with.

“As a result of the brainstorming exercise young people identified key issues such as drugs and alcohol, culture and diversity, access to the Diamond Centre and their understanding of policing,” revealed Chief Inspector Thompson at a recent meeting of the District Policing Partnership.

Sergeant Craig, working in partnership with a number of agencies, arranged a trip to the Riverside Theatre to watch “I’m No A Billy and He’s A Tim” which centred on issues of sectarianism and Gwyneth McQuiston, Manager of the Diamond Centre, visited the youth club for a question and answer session before inviting them to visit the shopping complex to see it through her eyes.

Coleraine Football Club supported the Sergeant’s project by giving away complementary tickets to the Academy Rooms. The club also showed young people around the facilities to promote football in a positive way.

Listing some of the other elements of the programme, Chief Inspector Thompson said: “Sergeant Craig gave a presentation on alcohol and drugs and CRUN talked to the young people about diversity.

“A trip to the Somme Centre and an awards night ended a worthwhile and action-packed programme,” he concluded.

So delighted was he with the youngsters’ response to the scheme, the Area Commander now hopes to roll it out across the Borough.