Northern Ireland Housing and planning, Welfare and equalities

Community Planning in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council


Photo by Brandon Jacoby on Unsplash

Alongside our briefing from Professor Colin Knox appraising community planning in Northern Ireland, this article from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) outlines key areas of innovation and deployment of community planning partnerships in local government. 

In March 2017, following a process of co-design involving extensive community engagement, the Community Planning Strategic Partnership Board published the first Community Plan for the Fermanagh and Omagh district. Since then, the Partnership has worked strategically and collaboratively, pioneering approaches to develop exemplary practices, some examples of which are presented in this article.

The six long-term outcomes are:

  • Our people are healthy and well – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Older people lead more independent, engaged and socially connected lives.
  • Our communities are inclusive, safe, resilient, and empowered.
  • Our children and young people have the best start in life.
  • Our economy is thriving, expanding and outward looking.
  • Our outstanding natural and built environment is sustainably managed and enhanced.

Enniskillen and Omagh Place Shaping Plans

Enniskillen and Omagh Place Shaping Plans were developed through co-production and co-design with an extensive range of diverse partners appointed through the Community Plan Strategic Planning Partnership. These plans provide strategic direction to holistically shape the development of Enniskillen and Omagh for the next 10-15 years. Significant spatial and economic analysis, including a review of key statistics such as current and predicted demographic profile, town centre health check, and development potential, took place, which provided the cornerstone for direction and progress.

The council undertook a coordinating role in developing the plans and works in partnership with identified partners to deliver on pertinent aspects. The extensive breadth and diversity of the actions included within the plans, which reflect the current and future community needs, were informed by a wide collaborative approach involving community groups, children and young people, individuals, volunteers, local businesses and statutory partners, bringing land use planning and community planning together to work hand in hand.

To learn more about the place shaping process, click here. Several stakeholders involved in the development of the Omagh Place Shaping Plan shared their thoughts on the process in this video.

Food transport and fuel poverty research

Council officers worked with Community Plan Action Lead Partners and academics at Ulster University to map the scale of fuel, transport and food poverty in the FODC District. All research was undertaken at a small area level, utilising Census data and the collection of primary data regarding the availability and cost of a healthy food basket. The three individual aspects of poverty were mapped and brought together to identify small areas at risk of co-poverties. A findings report was published in March 2023 and identified that 52 small areas are at risk of at least 2 of the 3 aspects of poverty, and 4 small areas are at risk of all 3.

This provides a fresh approach to space-based poverty analysis in Fermanagh and Omagh, using more up-to-date data than the commonly used NI Multiple Deprivation Measure. The Community Planning Partnership is using the analysis to influence the location of interventions to alleviate the impacts of poverty. You can read more information here




Climate change & biodiversity

The Community Planning Partnership considers collaborative working to be key in tackling climate change and biodiversity. It is only through partnership working that best practice can be shared and implemented for the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment. The Fermanagh Omagh Community Planning Partnership values the unique biodiversity of the district.

Recent initiatives have delivered tangible impacts in communities across the district and have engaged 750+ children and young people in working for a more sustainable planet and future. These included:

  • 6 ha meadow maintained for biodiversity.
  • Engaged 1,098 people from schools and community groups in a variety of workshops, including tree planting, bird feeding and pollinator workshops, and events, including the re-opening of a local nature reserve and 10 forest school sessions.
  • Restored approx 226.5 ha of peatland.
  • Treated 14 sites for Japanese Knotweed removal in collaboration with Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, including an awareness-raising program.
  • Collaborated with the Education Authority and other partners to run a series of workshops empowering young people to become more active citizens.

FODC firmly believes that collaborative working is the way forward to effectively address challenges and achieve our long-term outcomes. By sharing best practices and embracing a partnership approach, we are confident in our ability to create positive and lasting impacts on the well-being of our citizens and the overall development of our District.

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