Group’s funding a boost on trafficking

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There are plenty of groups and organisations in the Portadown area doing important work and sometimes they aren’t appreciated or understood enough.

Freedom Acts, based in Foundry Street, may not be a household name, but there can be no underestimating the importance of what they do.

As such, news that the group have received another three years of funding from Comic Relief should be welcomed by everyone.

Human trafficking probably seemed like an issue largely irrelevant in Portadown until last August.

But then a bombshell landed.

The entire community, it is fair to say, was stunned as 20 victims of forced labour were recovered in Portadown in a blaze of publicity. Police made a series of arrests and court appearances followed.

Freedom Acts works diligently behind the scenes to fight for the future of the victims of human trafficking. The aim is to stamp out this problem in the Portadown area and beyond.

Anyone believing that the discovery in Portadown was just an isolated incident should read more about last week’s events in Newtownhamilton, south Armagh.

Sixteen potential victims of human trafficking were recovered by the PSNI, again emphasising that this is a problem that simply isn’t going away in a hurry.

As Mel Wiggins, project coordinator of Freedom Acts says, the funding will enable the group to expand its team by one and hopefully deepen its influence in the community. We wish Mel and her team well.

Meanwhile, motorists may have mixed emotions about news of an impending resurfacing project on the Brownstown Road in Portadown.

Work is due to start in the town next week and sensibly, it is at least taking place in the summer months, when schools are off and there is considerably less pressure on the roads network.

The project costs £150,000, a significant investment in the roads infrastructure and it is something to be welcomed.

The road will be closed from August 3 to August 28 and of course there will be frustrations.

However, Transport NI insist the route will be clearly marked, with motorists diverted along Armagh Road, Northway, Corcrain Road and West Street.

The authority warns motorists to have patience. Let’s hope not too much of that will be required!

Less clear is the situation in the Annagh area where residents are confused about the upcoming closure at the Tandragee Road. One local man insists the road will be closed off to pedestrians, meaning people will need to travel up to two and a half miles to get a pint of milk.

It all seems rather absurd and clarity is required.