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					City Matters Spring 2005 Contents
2 4 7 7 9 10 11 15 20 22 23 24 26 27 28 Real people recycle Waste pushes up rates bill Belfast – better believe it Get on track Consumer advice Looking good What‟s on Directory of key council services Let‟s go outside Celebrate the city A taste of Europe Boost for communities Getting the message across Frequently asked questions A history for today

Belfast City Council City Hall, Belfast BT1 5GS Tel: 9032 0202 Textphone: 9027 0405 Visit our website at www.belfastcity.gov.uk City Matters is published by Belfast City Council and delivered by Royal Mail to 124,000 addresses in Belfast at a cost of 21p per household. We are committed to making sure that our services are available to all sections of the community. City Matters is now available in Braille, audio and large print. We will consider providing it in other formats if requested. Please call 9032 0202 ext 2356.This publication is printed on environmentally friendly paper.

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Editorial
Thanks for all your comments about the winter edition - we do read all your suggestions to make sure City Matters covers things you want to read about. Our main feature focuses on the rates (pages 4 and 5). Here we‟ll tell you about the recent increase and explain where we‟ll be spending the money. You‟ll find other articles, which will explain some of the main areas of expenditure in greater detail. The “What‟s On” section on pages 10 and 11 includes details of our fourth „Titanic – Made in Belfast‟ event which runs from 26 March to 2 April. Don‟t forget to enter our free competition on page 17 for your chance to win £100 worth of shopping vouchers. Just send in the coupon and use the Freepost address to send it back to us. On the reverse of the coupon, you can send us your comments by filling in the „Your views‟ section. We hope you enjoy this edition of City Matters.

Real people recycle
Each year, the average family in Belfast throws away over a tonne of rubbish. We‟re running out of space in our landfill sites to cope with the rising amounts of waste, but by making the following simple changes, we can all do our bit to help:    reduce the amount of waste you generate, reuse things as best you can, and recycle as many items as possible.

Jim Harbinson, a City Matters reader, has managed to reduce the amount of waste he puts in his bin by nearly half. And he‟s even helping some friends and neighbours by collecting their newspapers and junk mail to take to his local recycling centre at Palmerston Road. Jim started recycling tins and bottles last year, but says he‟s now recycling everything he can. He sorts his waste into plastics, bottles, tins and papers for the recycling centre. And as a keen gardener, Jim has put the waste from his kitchen sink to good use, by using it for compost. When asked why he recycles, Jim said, “I think we should be looking after our environment for the next generation. And an immediate benefit of recycling is that your bin is much cleaner.” 2

Ann Spratt, another City Matters reader commented, “I recycle everything I possibly can at my local recycling centre. The extensive range of facilities has really helped and the guys there give great advice.” She recommends that we encourage children to recycle by showing them how to separate waste into the different types of materials, like plastic bottles and glass. Ann said, “Recycling has changed my way of thinking – once you start recycling, you can‟t stop!” And she‟s passed the recycling bug on to her family, friends and neighbours. Talking about the moral side of recycling, Ann said, “There isn‟t enough room in landfill sites to accommodate our waste – I don‟t think we have a choice anymore – we need to make recycling a way of life.”

Blue bin update
We‟ve given out 38,000 blue bins for paper recycling, which has greatly helped to increase our recycling rate to 9%. But we‟ve still a way to go - while our recycling rate is increasing, our waste rate is growing. Big changes are on the way to help you recycle:  Additional materials will soon be collected in your blue bin. These will include cardboard, cans and plastic bottles. But please continue to use your blue bin only for paper until you receive information leaflets detailing otherwise.  During 2005-2006 most households which have a blue bin, will also receive a brown bin for the collection of garden waste.  If you need something to put your waste into before going to the recycling centre, we have woven carrier bags to help you separate your waste.  Those households that don‟t receive a blue bin will be getting a kerbside box for recycling paper, glass, cans, plastic, textiles and old tools. This will be collected on our behalf once a week by Bryson House. You‟ll get an information leaflet on any scheme that affects your area prior to any change in service and we‟ll keep you updated through City Matters. If you have any recycling queries call our Recycling Helpline on 0800 0328100.

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Waste pushes up rates bill
Councils across Northern Ireland are facing significant increases in costs for disposing of waste and that has been reflected in this year‟s rate increase of 7.3 per cent in Belfast. We face costs rising from the current expenditure of £2 million on waste to around £15 million in the period 2006-2008. As a result, we have been prudently building up to this major increase during recent years to prevent ratepayers facing a huge single rise. The rise also reflects our other objectives, which include:    maintaining and improving services, making the city a better place to live for our citizens, and the costs associated with being a major employer.

The district rate, set by the council, is used to meet the cost of providing services such as refuse collection and disposal, street cleaning, parks and recreation grounds, cemeteries and crematorium, leisure centres, environmental health services and community centres. The regional rate, which is set by central government, funds services such as education, housing, social services and sewerage. The increase in the regional rate (9%) and the district rate (7.30%) represents around £37.58 per year in the average domestic rates bill. Of this, Belfast City Council is responsible for £16.95 - or 32p per week – with central government being responsible for £20.63 – or 40p per week. The total spend for Belfast City Council for the year 2005-2006 will be £130.2 million which is made up of district rates (£86.3 million), grants (£15.3 million) and fees and charges (£28.6 million). Waste management Belfast has been sheltered from the increasing cost of waste disposal due to having our own landfill site. But its closure in May 2006, due to stringent EC regulations will have significant repercussions for ratepayers. Not only will we have to start paying for the disposal of our own waste, but we will also lose the income from other councils, which have been using our site for the past number of years.

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The cost of waste disposal has risen more than eight-fold since 1985, when it cost £5 a tonne. Today, it costs £25 a tonne, plus £18 landfill tax. The alternative to landfill is recycling- with the cost of recycling materials being even more. But recycling is not a choice - we are obliged by EC landfill directives and their local equivalent to reach set targets. For every tonne we go over the target we face fines of £200. So, for a relatively small figure like 2,500 tonnes, rate payers could face a 1p increase in their rates. You can help us keep these costs down by changing habits and embracing recycling. We‟re spending a significant amount on providing the tools to help you do just that:  Every household will have a recycling collection service and we‟re introducing the first phase of a new garden waste collection service;  You‟ll see the roll-out of a further phase of the blue bin scheme;  A further state-of-the-art recycling centre for south Belfast will be added to those already in place in the north, east and south-west of the city. We will also refurbish a further three existing sites. Ongoing initiatives and expenditure  An extra £1.25 million has been set aside for the Brighter Belfast initiative, which focuses on the anti-litter campaign, additional cleansing services and improvements on arterial routes and the city centre;  We will continue to work with private and public sector partners to tackle economic issues, particularly through our Local Economic Development Plan (2002-2006) which is providing £11 million, to support economic development in the city;  Plans for the ground-breaking £18 million Grove Well-being Centre in north Belfast are well underway with leisure, health and learning facilities on one site;  Ongoing work on our community safety strategy, includes the gating of entries, known as „alleygating‟, which will be piloted at a number of areas with the intention of reducing burglaries;  Our Good Relations Grant Aid Fund will provide £220,000 worth of support for community relations and cultural diversity projects in the city;  £100,000 will be invested in our Children and Young People‟s Action Plan;  For people with disabilities, we will continue programmed work on all council buildings, which began last year, to make sure access meets best practice standards;  We‟ll invest £1.2 million in our Information Age Government Strategy which aims to improve communications, accessibility and services for our customers through electronic means;

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 We have to meet a three per cent increase in our wage bill and, after enjoying a „contributions holiday‟ for a number of years from our employees‟ pension scheme, will have to contribute four per cent this year. Some new initiatives  An enlarged enforcement team will tackle litter and fly tipping;  We are building three new playgrounds, renovating six football pitches and 12 other playgrounds;  A new schools litter education programme will be launched;  We are organising and funding a major year of cultural celebrations, beginning in October 2005;  Four additional enforcement officers will be deployed to help reduce the serious problem of dog fouling;  We are starting to develop an environmental business park on the North Foreshore, the site of the landfill. For more information on rates, please contact, Fred Maguire, Head of Financial Services on 9027 0255 or email: maguiref@belfastcity.gov.uk. Or log on to www.ratecollectionagencyni.gov.uk

Mid Donegall Road gets a face lift
Through our Brighter Belfast initiative, we have been funding and working closely with the Greater Village Regeneration Trust (GVRT) to improve the look of the Mid Donegall Road area of South Belfast. This included a number of shared art projects aimed at involving the local community in art design to provide interesting cultural references for local people and visitors. Three very different art projects have now been completed.  The railway bridge on the Donegall Road has recently been transformed from being covered in graffiti to having six new murals depicting scenes from local life as seen through the eyes of school children. This has visually brightened this area of the road.  „Susie the city cat‟ now sits on the pillar opposite Pandora Street. Susie is a bronze sculpture designed and created by the artist Deborah Brown. Local children helped to name the cat.  Two mosaic panels have also been installed at the front of 337 Donegall Road, the Greater Village Regeneration Trust‟s offices. For more information on the Brighter Belfast initiative, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/brighterbelfast or call 9032 0202 ext 5252. 6

Belfast better believe it
A unique partnership between public and private sector organisations has been established to coordinate various works which are part of a major £650 million facelift for Belfast. Projects include:  the £300 million Victoria Square development;  the £100 million Belfast Sewers Project;  the £75 million improvements to the M1/Westlink;  Laganside‟s £150 million regeneration project of the river and Cathedral Quarter; and  our investment of up to £30 million on the city‟s arterial routes. We are linking up with the Department for Regional Development‟s Water Service and Roads Service, Laganside, AM Developments (Victoria Square) and other private and public sector organisations to coordinate the work. It will improve the health, safety, accessibility and attractiveness of the city. While retaining their own identity, all the projects are being united under the banner of „Belfast – better believe it‟, with a view to minimising disruption and to keeping the city‟s residents, commuters, visitors and tourists informed about the projects and their progress.

Get on track
In February, we introduced the „Healthwise exercise referral scheme‟ in partnership with the Eastern Health and Social Services Board. This scheme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, aims to improve the health and fitness of patients through tailored exercise programmes. Approved healthcare professionals such as doctors, registered nurses or therapists will recommend regular exercise programmes in our leisure centres, if they feel that your condition will benefit from more physical activity. A personalised 12-week physical activity programme is designed for anyone taking part. This takes into account their current health condition and lifestyle and aims to introduce them to physical activities that they can maintain and enjoy. Participants should aim to exercise about three times per week. They don't need to worry if they have never been to a leisure centre before, or if they haven‟t exercised for some time. Qualified fitness coaches in the leisure centre will design an exercise programme for each individual to match their own aims and abilities. Activities may include:  7 using the fitness suite,

 

swimming, and group activities such as aerobics and walking groups.

If you’d like more information, please contact Stuart Wallace, Health and Fitness Officer on 9032 0202 ext 3540 or email: allaces@belfastcity.gov.uk

You’ve been fined
You can now be fined £50 if one of our litter wardens or enforcement officers catches you dropping litter, including cigarette butts and chewing gum. Since April last year, we have issued 746 fixed penalty notices and are giving out about 100 every month. This number will increase soon as we have just employed another litter warden and two more enforcement officers, giving us a total of three litter wardens and six enforcement officers. Litter louts who fail to pay their fixed penalty notice are taken to court and can end up paying much more than £50. The maximum fine for failure to pay is £2,500. Since April, we issued 101 summonses to people who have not paid their fixed penalty notice and have taken 122 individuals to court. We also target motorists who throw litter out of their car windows. All we need to establish the owner of the vehicle is a statement on time, place, date, registration number and a willing court witness. We can then issue the offender with a fixed penalty notice. The money collected from fixed penalty notices is paid to the Department of the Environment. Proposed legislation, which is due to be in place around the summer time, will allow us to retain the money and reinvest it in making Belfast a cleaner city. For more information, please call 9032 0202 ext 5234.

Consumer advice
Q: I am constantly receiving letters telling me I have won the Spanish lottery or phone calls saying I have won a Caribbean cruise. I didn‟t enter these competitions, but the letters and calls seem convincing. If I want to claim the phone prizes all I have to do is phone the company. Are these letters and phone calls really just scams or is it possible I have actually won something? A: The Office of Fair Trading has received so many complaints from consumers who have lost money through misleading unsolicited phone calls, letters, faxes and text messages.

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It made February 2005 a special month in which it warned consumers about these fraudulent scams. You should never send money in advance to claim a prize and you should never ever give anyone any of your bank details. Don‟t phone back to claim a prize because the phone number will be a premium rate line costing you £1.50 per minute. If you do reply, you will be put on a “successful hit list” so you will get even more letters and phone calls. To stop unwanted mail, register with the Mailing Preference Service. You can contact them at: Freepost 22, London W1E 7EZ Email: mps@dma.org.uk Website www.mpsonline.org.uk To stop unwanted telephone calls, contact the Telephone Preference Service at: DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SS Email: tps@dma.org.uk Website: www.tpsonline.org.uk These services can stop most unsolicited advertising from the UK but not from overseas. If you feel you have lost money through these types of scams or if you have any queries, you can contact our Consumer Advice Centre for more advice. Remember the old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” If you have a consumer problem and would like some specialist advice, simply visit the Consumer Advice Centre at 6 Callender Street, Belfast. You can pick up leaflets and information on consumer information issues from here. Opening times: Monday 9.30am - 4.30pm Tuesday 9.30am - 4.30pm Wednesday 9.30am - 2.00pm Thursday 9.30am - 4.30pm Friday 9.30am - 4.15pm You can also telephone 9032 8260 or email your query to consumeradvice@belfastcity.gov.uk

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Looking good
One of the aims of our Brighter Belfast initiative is to encourage schools, communities, businesses, voluntary sector and other public sector organisations to become more proactive in looking after their local environment. This year saw our first Environmental Awards Gala in the City Hall, which included the Belfast in Bloom awards. We judged the categories on a variety of environmental issues - prevention of litter, management of waste, nature conservation, floral decorations, and „greening‟ the city. The Belfast in Bloom categories included awards for:  best commercial,  best garden/allotment and  best community group. Winners in the other categories were:  The Schools Environmental Award (Christian Brothers School, Glen Road),  The Nature Conservation Award (Ulster Wildlife Trust and The Friends of the Bog Meadow),  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Award (Harberton Special School),  Anti-litter Award (Westwood Shopping Centre and McDonalds),  Brighter Belfast Environmental Team Award (The CURE group of the Royal Victoria Hospital) and  The Community Participation Award (Great Shankill Clean Up Forum). Lists of all the winners can be found on our website detailed below. The awards will be running again this year and we will be looking for entrants to take part. Watch the press or visit our website for further information at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/brighterbelfast/and click on awards.

Spring a leak
Leaks from your oil tank can cause huge disruption to you and your neighbours. They can be very expensive to clean up and damage the environment. Oil can soak into the soil and move beneath houses. Fumes can enter your home and damage your health. How to prevent a spill:  Check the condition of your tank and boiler on a regular basis.  Look out for staining and oily smells.

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 Become familiar with your normal rate of oil usage. An increase in the rate of fuel being used would indicate a leak.  Have your heating system serviced by a competent person on a regular basis.  What to do if a spill occurs:  Switch off your oil supply at the tank or arrange to have it emptied.  If a leak is likely to affect a stream or pond, then contact the emergency Oil Care Hotline number on 0800 807060.  Have your system thoroughly inspected by a competent boiler engineer.  Contact your household insurance company or landlord.  Never use detergents or a hose to wash the spill away.  If there is a smell of oil in your home, call our Environmental Health Department on 9027 0428 for advice.  Keep your home ventilated by opening windows and doors. Never ignore the problem. Taking quick action will save you money and may prevent possible legal action.

Titanic – Made in Belfast
The fourth „Titanic – Made in Belfast‟ event will start on Saturday 26 March and run for a week until Saturday 2 April. There are over 20 events during the week and highlights include the history of shipping and shipbuilding exhibition, guided Titanic boat tours and the enhanced Titanic At Home Exhibition with a new interactive living history element.

Titanic At Home Exhibition Sat 26 March – Sat 2 April City Hall (Great Hall) 10am – 6pm daily. An exhibition about the ship and the city where the Titanic was created on paper, constructed in steel and completed with pride. It will reflect what life was like on board this magnificent ship with many individual stories of characters. Admission free, no tickets required. Walking tours: Titanic City - Thomas Andrews’ Belfast (£) Sat 26 March – Sat 2 April Titanic Memorial, City Hall 11

2pm daily. Designer of the great Titanic, Thomas Andrews, set up home in Belfast with his wife in 1908 when Belfast was a thriving industrial city. Allow yourself to be taken back to that elegant age by your experienced guide. Tickets £2. Shipyard Memory Wall Sat 26 March – Sat 2 April City Hall 10am – 6pm daily. The Shipyard Memory Wall is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the rich heritage of the shipyard. Former shipyard workers, their families, old residents of East Belfast, shopkeepers and other workers hold a wealth of invaluable archive material about the life and times of the shipyard. Admission free, no tickets required. Titanic Talks Sat 26 March – Wed 30 March City Hall (Reception Hall) 1pm daily. A series of talks by various speakers, on different aspects of the Titanic story. Speakers include George McAllister and Bill Austin, retired shipyard workers, with memories and stories of the shipyard, Albert Hazlett with poetry and Councillor Nelson McCausland recounting the start of modern shipbuilding in Belfast. Each talk lasts about 45 minutes with a question and answer session. Admission free, tickets required. Titanic Storytelling Sat 26 March and Sun 27 March City Hall (Council Chamber) 11am-5pm, on the hour (sessions last about 30 minutes). This is especially for children (suitable for age 4-10), allowing them to escape into the realm of fantasy and the legends around the fascinating story of the Titanic. Admission free, tickets required. Between the Lines (£) 6 – 10 April Crescent Arts Centre Belfast‟s popular literature festival takes place at the Crescent Arts Centre and will feature a host of local, national and international writers and performers. Tel: 9024 2338 for a free festival brochure. 12

Earthquake Festival of International Dance (£) 6 – 24 April Waterfront Hall, Belfast Island Arts Centre, Lisburn Earthquake is Northern Ireland‟s festival of international dance which is cohosted by Belfast‟s Waterfront Hall and the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn. Tel: Dance NI on 9042 3252 www.danceni.com A History for Today 18 – 29 April Waterfront Hall Guided tours of the Anne Frank exhibition for schools and youth and community groups. Tel: Belfast Welcome Centre on 9024 6609 Belfast Film Festival (£) 7 – 16 April Various locations Bringing the very best in national and international films with premieres, talks and workshops. Tel: 9032 5913 www.belfastfilmfestival.org Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (£) 28 April – 8 May Various locations CQAF returns with the very best in new theatre, comedy, music, literature, circus, street theatre, visual art and family events. Tel: 9023 2403 www.cqaf.com Young at Art Festival (£) 24 – 30 May Various locations Taking the theme of the five senses, the festival has loads for kids to see, hear, touch, taste and even smell. Tickets start at just £3 and special family tickets are available. Tel: 9023 0660 for a free festival brochure. www.youngatart.co.uk Continental Market 28 – 30 May City Hall grounds Enjoy the sights, tastes and smells of Europe in the grounds of the City Hall. See page15. 13

Tel: Markets Unit on 9043 5704 Opera in the Park 30 June Botanic Gardens Enjoy an evening of fantastic music with a live broadcast of La Bohème broadcast live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Bring a rug and enjoy the setting of Botanic Gardens while watching the tragic story of the Parisian lovers unfold. Tel: Belfast Welcome Centre on 9024 6609 Events listed are free unless you see the (£) symbol. All details correct at time of going to press. Events at Belfast Zoo 2 - 3 April „„Reptail‟‟ display See a range of exotic reptiles. Scheduled animal handling sessions. 16 April - 2 May Baby Trail Learn more interesting facts about the babies in the zoo and their parents. 30 May Simon the Sea lion's 21st birthday party Join in the fun day of celebrations! Design a card competition, prizes to be won. Call 9077 6277 for details of opening times and admission prices.

Directory of key council services
Council venues and buildings Belfast Castle Belfast Welcome Centre Cecil Ward Building City Hall City Hall (textphone) City Hall Tours Consumer Advice Centre, Callender St First Stop Shop Business Information Group Theatre Malone House 14 9077 6925 9024 6609 9032 0202 9032 0202 9027 0405 9027 0456 9032 8260 9027 8399 9032 3900 9068 1246

Smithfield Market St George‟s Market Ulster Hall Waterfront Hall Zoological Gardens Information line

9032 3248 9043 5704 9032 3900 9033 4400 9077 4625

Leisure and recreation centres Andersonstown Leisure Centre Avoniel Leisure Centre Ballymacarrett Recreation Centre Ballysillan Leisure Centre Beechmount Leisure Centre Belfast Indoor Tennis Arena/ Ozone Leisure Complex Falls Leisure Centre Grove Leisure Centre Loughside Recreation Centre Olympia Leisure Centre Shankill Leisure Centre Whiterock Leisure Centre Outdoor Pitch Hotline

9062 5211 9045 1564 9045 8828 9039 1040 9032 8631 9045 8024 9050 0510 9035 1599 9078 1524 9023 3369 9024 1434 9023 3239 9027 0677

Some other services for which the council is not responsible Water Department for Regional Development (DRD) Water Service Customer Service Enquiries 08457 440088 Leakline (water mains only) 08000 282011 Department of the Environment (DOE) Water Pollution 0800 807060 Libraries Belfast Education & Library Board 9056 4000 Planning Department of the Environment Planning Service 9025 2800 Social Housing Northern Ireland Housing Executive 9024 0588 Rates Collection Rates Collection Agency 9025 2252 Roads DRD Roads Service 9054 0540 Schools Belfast Education & Library Board 9056 4000 Council for Catholic Maintained Schools 9042 6972 15

Street Lighting (Fault Reporting): DRD A Abandoned Vehicles Asbestos Household collection B Bin/Container sales Births - Registration Blue Bin Enquiries Building Control Dangerous Structures Entertainment Licensing Postal Numbering Street Naming Technical helpline Bulky Household Waste/ Special Collections

9025 3051

9027 0656 9027 0656 9027 0656 9027 0274 0800 032 8100 9027 0285 9027 0290 9027 0286 9027 0286 9027 0432 9027 0230

C Cemeteries Office Mon-Thur 8.30am-5.00pm (Fri 4.30pm) Sat 8.30am-12.30pm 9027 0296 City Cemetery 9032 3112 City of Belfast Golf Course 9084 3799 Civic Amenity Sites 9027 0656 Community Safety 9027 0469 Community Services 9027 0505 Complaints Helpline 9027 0270 Consumer Safety 9027 0428 Corporate Policy Unit 9027 0234 Crematorium 9044 8342 Culture and Arts 9027 0461 D Dead Animal Removal Deaths - Registration Dog Warden Service Dundonald Cemetery E Economic Development Environmental Health 16 9027 0297 9027 0274 9027 0431 9048 0193 9027 0482 9027 0428

Equality Officer (Freefone) Events Belfast Welcome Centre Events Hotline Leisure and Sporting Parks and Amenities F Fly Poster Removal Fly Tipping (Illegal dumping) Food Safety Forest of Belfast Officer G Good Relations Graffiti Removal Grounds Maintenance Group Theatre Administration Box Office H Health & Environmental Services Emergency (after hours) Mobile number Health Education/ Promotion Home Safety I Industrial estates J Jobline www.belfastcity.gov.uk/jobs L Landfill Site N Noise Hotline P Pest Control 17

0800 0855 412 9024 6609 9027 0222 9027 0345 9027 0467 9027 0297 9027 0230 9027 0468 9027 0350 9027 0663 9027 0297 9037 3031 9032 3900 9032 9685

078 5049 9622 9027 0469 9027 0469 9027 0510 9027 0481

9037 0301 9037 3006 9027 0428

Pollution Control Port Health Property Certificates Public Conveniences Public Health & Housing R Recycling Centres Recycling Helpline Refuse Collection Commercial/ Trade Accounts Commercial/ Trade Operations Customer Contact Centre Registration of Births, Deaths & Marriages Regulatory Services (Enforcement of alcohol, street trading and sale of tobacco and Sunday trading bye-laws) Roselawn Cemetery S Smoke Hotline Street Cleansing Enquiries/Complaints T Tourism U Ulster Hall W Waste Disposal Accounts Waste Management Service Waterfront Hall Administration/Enquiries Box Office & bookings Weddings

9027 0428 9035 1199 9027 0480 9027 0656 9027 0428 9027 0656 0800 0328 100 9027 0230 9027 0298 9032 3190 9027 0230 9027 0274 9027 0464

9044 8288 9027 0420 9027 0297 9027 0228 9032 3900

9027 0657 9032 0202 9033 4400 9033 4455 9027 0274

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Win Curley‟s shopping vouchers. Enter our free competition to win these shopping vouchers. Simply circle the answer to our recycling question and send it to: Belfast City Council, FREEPOST BEL4010, Belfast BT1 5BR (no stamp required). On the other side of this coupon, you can tell us what you thought about this edition of City Matters and what you'd like to see in the next one (due out at the beginning of August).

Let’s go outside
Research shows that quality open space is a key factor in making our towns and cities attractive places in which to live, work and play. Belfast faces the challenge of maintaining and improving the standard of our parks and open spaces. We believe that we should all have places where we can relax, participate in sport, enjoy nature or watch our children play. We‟ve talked to people who have a role to play in improving open space. And we‟ve spoken to people who use these places as well as those who don‟t. Your views will shape future actions to make sure that public spaces reach their full potential. The feedback shows that you want:  better information;  improved personal safety;  more supervision of parks;  more engagement with local communities;  more diversity of use and function;  promotion of local history and culture through open space. A strategy will address these issues through the following themes:  Our heritage – protecting and improving parks and open spaces that support and promote natural and cultural heritage;  Healthier places – providing outdoor places where you‟ll enjoy going and can reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle;  Safer spaces – making you feel safer when visiting our parks and open spaces;  Community stewardship – we can‟t implement this strategy without local people taking greater ownership of these places. You can get involved with parks „friends groups‟ or help to develop local events.

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For more information on how you can get involved, contact Gary McNeill on 9032 0202 ext 3454.

Up in smoke
We have become one of the first councils in Northern Ireland to ban smoking in all of our buildings. And we‟ve also agreed to take the lead and lobby for a smoking ban in all public areas throughout the city. The smoking ban which comes into force on 1 April 2005 will affect over 250 council properties including community centres, leisure centres and buildings such as the City Hall, Waterfront Hall, Belfast Castle and Malone House. We‟ve already introduced restricted smoking areas in most of our buildings. There are bins for discarding cigarettes and tobacco outside buildings. However we will discourage people from smoking around building entrances. Our duty of care is to provide a smoke free environment for all our staff. But we also help those who smoke through support programmes to encourage them to stop.

Opening doors and minds
We‟re continuing to make our buildings and services more accessible to people with disabilities. Our focus is on the removal of physical barriers to access while also raising awareness among our staff. We aim to promote better awareness of the rights, needs and potential of people with disabilities. Work to make our services more accessible will be completed by mid 2005. Call Stella Gilmartin, our Equality Officer on Freephone: 0800 0855412 Textphone: 028 9027 0405 or Email: gilmartins@belfastcity.gov.uk for more information on disability access.

Creative business
Creative Belfast is an opportunity for local creative companies to present their expertise, innovation, economic value and investment opportunities to a targeted audience in the USA. Creative Belfast will take place this spring in Boston and New York and 10 companies from Belfast are participating in the event.

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A „Friends of Belfast Network‟ has been set up. This consists of a number of companies which have expressed an interest in working together. It has 394 members and spans four cities - Boston, New York, Denver and Pittsburgh and helps Belfast companies to set up meetings and industry sector visits. We‟ve been talking to organisations in Boston and New York, including Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and New York Fashion Centre. Representatives from the fashion and media sectors will attend the five day event (three days in New York, two days in Boston) to network with other businesses. They will promote products and services, meet potential clients and raise the economic profile of Belfast to the global marketplace. Participants will have the opportunity to hear the success stories of both new and established businesses working in Belfast‟s creative sector. The event will also provide information on the support available for the creative sector and opportunities for investment, collaboration and business development. For further information on creative industries projects, please call 9027 0453.

Celebrate the city
We‟re working with cultural, arts and community organisations from across Belfast to present an exciting year-long celebration of the best of the city‟s rich and varied cultural life. Beginning this autumn, the programme of activities will lead up to the centenary of the City Hall which was built in 1906. “The year is already shaping up to be something special”, says Catriona Regan, Capital Celebrations Manager. “It‟s going to be an opportunity for the city to share our rich culture and artistic creativity. It will also be a wonderful opportunity for Belfast to present itself to the wider world and I am sure it will be a huge attraction for tourists.” We will be revealing full details of the programme later in the year. It will be a mixture of high-profile events and smaller local activities. For more information visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfast2006 Tel: 9027 0516 or email 2006@belfastcity.gov.uk Contact us if you are involved with an arts or sports organisation and want to let us know about an event which you're planning to run after October 2005.

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A taste of Europe
Experience the European flavour of the Continental Market which is coming to Belfast for the Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday 28 to Monday 30 May. You can enjoy the bustling atmosphere in the grounds of the City Hall. There will be stalls selling delicious Belgian chocolate, French cheese and olives, gorgeous Eastern silk scarves and flowers from Amsterdam. You‟ll find handcrafted goods and unusual gifts while you soak up the sights and smells of Europe. It‟s an ideal place for lunch - sit down and relax in the covered marquee. This is the second year of the Continental Market in May and is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. The Lord Mayor‟s Show is on Saturday 28 May, so families can enjoy the carnival atmosphere as well as the Continental Market for a fun-filled day for kids! Call the Markets Unit on 9043 5704. The Northern Ireland Local Government Elections will be held on Thursday 5 May 2005. You can find out more from The Electoral Office Northern Ireland by logging on to www.electoralofficeni.gov.uk or call 9023 144.3.

Is it safe?
Over the Christmas period, crime in the city centre fell by over 20% compared to this period last year; a total of over 50% reduction in two years. This is thanks, in part, to our ongoing commitment to create a safer city. Helping to achieve this are our partners such as the Community Safety Partnership and District Policing Partnership. We now have community safety and district policing partnership teams which work with other agencies to help reduce crime and fear of crime, as well as tackling some of the most common problems such as anti-social behaviour. Some of the services they provide include:    home safety measures for the elderly, homeless outreach support, and work with young people in interface areas.

In addition, the performance of the police is monitored and wide-ranging consultation exercises are undertaken to establish local policing priorities. Working together these teams are helping to create a safer city for residents, visitors and businesses. 22

For further information, call the Community Safety Team on 9032 0202 ext 3324 and 3316 or email communitysafety@belfastcity.gov.uk Or call the District Policing Partnership Team on 9027 0382 or email: dpp@belfastcity.gov.uk

Boost for communities
This year we have allocated 365 grants to the community and voluntary sector across Belfast. A total of £1.7 million will go towards supporting disadvantaged communities, from setting up advice services to funding Christmas parties for the elderly. You can help to develop your community and improve local conditions through the following grant aided funds:      Community Development and Support Grant - to support resource centres and advice services; Revenue Grant – to assist in the running costs of specific premises; Community Development Project Grant – to support small scale projects across many activities; Seasonal Play-scheme Grant – to support play-schemes with a broad based programme of activities; and Community Chest – a small grant scheme to support a range of small scale projects across the city.

Terry Mulvenna, Chairperson of the Star Neighbourhood Centre in North Belfast believes that the support they‟ve received is invaluable: “Not only does it enable us to pay for the day-to-day running costs associated with a busy community centre,” he says, “but it provides seasonal activities such as summer schemes and Christmas events.” Call our Community Support Unit for information on community grants on 9032 0202 ext 3545 or log on to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/community

New centre for Falls
The reopening of Falls Leisure Centre represents the start of a new era of leisure provision in Belfast. Leisure centre users put forward their ideas on the range of facilities and the physical appearance of the building itself. Facilities include:  a sports hall  a 25 metre swimming pool with moveable floor 23

    

a fitness suite, including 48 new fitness machines and a range of free weights a sauna and steam room a children‟s gym an arts and craft room, and a dance and aerobics studio.

However, you'll see the most significant changes in the way leisure services are delivered to the community. In the coming months, Falls Leisure Centre will bring its services out into the local community as well as providing unique activities for children and young people. One of the changes, which demonstrates our determination to target current health and lifestyle trends in our society, is early opening from 7.15am. Other centres will follow in the footsteps of Falls Leisure Centre with the Grove Well-being Centre opening in approximately two years‟ time. For more information, please call 9050 0510 or visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/leisure

Ready for a revamp?
Up to £1 million will be spent in the next year on state-of-the-art fitness equipment in our leisure centres. In February we took delivery of 40 new treadmills. Fitness suite equipment will be replaced in the coming months:       60 treadmills 78 exercise bicycles 42 cross trainers 29 rowing machines 90 fixed resistance machines 42 items of free weights equipment.

Old equipment will be replaced by early 2006 and the fitness suites will get a revamp over the next year. Centres will have wall and machine mounted televisions, plus personal audio equipment at work stations to keep you entertained throughout your workout. Around the period June 2005 and June 2006, most centres will also close for a period of approximately three months for essential maintenance. When the details of the closures are confirmed, we will inform all our customers through the leisure centres. For further information on the new equipment being installed, please contact Stuart Wallace, Health and Fitness Officer on 9032 0202 ext 3540.

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Closing the gates on burglaries
Alleygating is the name given to putting gates at the end of alleyways and entries. Alleygating can prevent burglars from breaking in, stop litter and rubbish being dumped and can reduce anti-social behaviour. Belfast Community Safety Partnership, which was set up last year to tackle crime, fear of crime and anti-social behaviour, will launch the first council-led alleygating scheme in Northern Ireland in the coming months. This is a pilot scheme, which has funding secured from the Northern Ireland Office Community Safety Unit. The partnership hopes to install up to 80 gates in the north and south of the city. If it secures funding from other sources, such as the Department for Social Development, it hopes to expand the scheme throughout the city. For more information contact the Community Safety Team on 9032 0202 ext 3258 or email bremnere@belfastcity.gov.uk

And the winner is…
In our winter edition, we asked how much you can be fined for dropping litter. Charles Boyd gave the correct answer of £50. He wins a digital cordless phone from BT. We received over 500 replies to the community safety survey in the last edition of City Matters. Congratulations to Elizabeth Ireland who is the winner of the TV/DVD combi! Suzanne Gowling (left), Community Safety Coordinator, congratulates Elizabeth Ireland on winning the TV and DVD combi.

Getting the message across
Independent evaluation has shown that our anti-litter campaign, “Don‟t drop it, stop it!” has successfully got the message across to people about littering. 54% of people remembered the campaign without any prompting and 86% after prompting. More than half of the people asked understood that our message was to „stop littering‟ with almost a quarter viewing littering as being socially unacceptable. It costs you, the ratepayer, almost £10 million per year to have the streets of Belfast cleaned. This is much higher than cities similar to Belfast in the rest of

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the United Kingdom. We need to reduce the cost of street cleansing by reducing the amount of litter:  dropped on streets,  dumped in alleyways, and  left on waste ground. We‟ve invested £300,000 of our Brighter Belfast budget to reduce littering through activities such as:      an anti-litter pledge signed by almost 6,000 people; a programme of street theatre; handing out free „Stubbi‟ pouches for cigarette butts; two rounds of Community Cleanup Challenge; and a schools challenge to design an anti-litter campaign.

For more information on making Belfast a cleaner, more attractive city, please call 9032 0202 ext 5252.

Frequently asked questions
Q How can I find out about summer schemes and play activities for children? A Call our Play Development Officer, Blanche Thompson on 9027 0470 or email play@belfastcity.gov.uk This summer, we‟re having a fun day to find out why some children and parents don‟t use our schemes, with the aim of improving them. You can join us on 10 August ar Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park to tell us what you think. Please call Blanche for tickets. What can I do about my neighbours having noisy parties? Contact our Noise Hotline for advice on dealing with the problem. The noise team can also call out to try and resolve the problem at the time, depending on the level of noise. Team members have the authority to issue noise-makers with a written or verbal warning and if the noise continues, they can issue a fixed penalty fine. Call the Noise Hotline on 9037 3006, 8pm to 4am. If you would like a free fridge magnet with the Noise Hotline number on it, please ring and leave your name, address and postcode on the answering machine. Q I‟m worried about the water rates – how can I find out about the proposed rates? 26

Q A

A

We‟re not responsible for the water rates, but you can contact the Water Reform Unit, which is part of the Department for Regional Development on 9054 2985. You can also visit their website on www.waterreformni.gov.uk How can I find out about jobs in the council? We advertise our jobs in the local papers. But you can also visit our website www.belfastcity.gov.uk/jobs to download job applications and descriptions. What types of leisure centre membership are available? There are a variety of options available including adult, junior, family, student and concessionary memberships. You can also get peak-time and off-peak options and swim-only membership.

Q A

Q A

For more information, call your nearest leisure centre. You‟ll find the telephone numbers on page 12 or log on to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/leisure.

A history for today
„„Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me... because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a 13 year old school girl.‟‟ In June 1942, Anne Frank received a diary from her parents as a 13th birthday present. During the two years she wrote in her diary, she recorded one of the darkest periods in history. As part of our programme of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, a new exhibition on Anne Frank is coming to the Waterfront Hall in April. On 16 April 1945, soldiers from Northern Ireland were involved in the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where Anne had been held. Tragically, she had died of typhus, just one month before they arrived. Since then, Anne has become a universal message of courage and hope. The Second World War affected all the citizens of Belfast at that time in many different ways: many citizens served in the Armed Forces, whilst others contributed through their work in the shipyards and factories. Some played key roles in the Civil Defence personnel, as the whole population had to endure nights of air attacks, including the Belfast Blitz in 1941. No other

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city, apart from London, suffered more loss of life in one night than Belfast, when about a thousand people were killed. The anniversary programme remembers the sacrifice of the wartime generation and celebrates the peace that was achieved in 1945. Events will be held across the city, including concerts of wartime music and a VE/VJ Day Service and Parade in the city centre on Sunday 3 July. Further details on the commemorative programme will be published in the media. For details of group tours of the exhibition, please contact Belfast Welcome Centre on 9024 6609.

Your right to know
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 which came into force on 1 January 2005 makes it easier for you to get information about us. The new law means that anyone, anywhere can ask for any information we hold. All you have to do is submit your request in writing to any member of staff, stating clearly what information you want and provide a name and address for us to reply to. Once we receive your request, we must reply in writing within 20 working days from the date we receive it. In our reply, we must confirm whether or not we hold the information, and either provide the information requested or explain why it is not being provided. In some instances, we may charge a fee before supplying the information you request. If this is the case we will write to you giving details of the amount to be paid. We make a significant amount of information available to the public routinely which means you do not have to make a specific request for it. Details of this information are listed in our Publication Scheme. You can see our scheme on our website (www.belfastcity.gov.uk). If you want a copy of the scheme or further information about how to make a Freedom of Information request, please contact: The Records Manager Chief Executive‟s Department City Hall Belfast BT1 5GS Tel: 9027 0639 Email: records@belfastcity.gov.uk

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