Minister to query play park rejection

Eamon O'Donnell and Paul Hughes pictured last year with some of the children and parents who are waiting for a new playpark to be developed at Strathfoyle. DER4414-120KM

Eamon O'Donnell and Paul Hughes pictured last year with some of the children and parents who are waiting for a new playpark to be developed at Strathfoyle. DER4414-120KM

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Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has vowed to question those who made the decision not to fund a new play park for Strathfoyle.

A protest in the wake of the shock decision is due to take place today (Friday) outside Derry City Council’s offices on Strand Road at around 12pm.

The decision not to award Lottery funding for the park development was made by Places & Spaces, but local people said they wanted to make it clear to the council that children in Strathfoyle should have the same rights to a play facility as others across the city.

Mr Durkan meanwhile said people in Strathfoyle were “puzzled and angry”.

He said: “An awful lot of work was put into this application which had the support of the entire community.

“I will be speaking to the decision makers to establish how and why they deemed the application unworthy of approval. Strathfoyle has a huge young population with no play provision whatsoever.

“Following this latest setback I will be writing to Derry City and Strabane District Council and relevant Government departments to ascertain how we can best meet the unquestionable need for a playpark in Strathfoyle.”

Paul Hughes from Enagh Youth Forum has said they have been told their application- which ran to hundreds of pages- was rejected because they did not demonstrate sufficient evidence of need.

Eamon O’Donnell, Youth Support Worker with the Enagh Break Out Project said the protest today would be an indication that local people were not taking this decision lying down.

He said: “Children in Strathfoyle have aright to play and we are going to demand that right. They should not be treated as second class citizens. To say there is no need in this community is ridiculous.”

A spokesman for Space & Place responded: “Whilst Space & Place do not discuss individual applications, we do, however, offer one-to-one feedback sessions to all unsuccessful applicants to discuss the decision and look at learning for the future.

“Despite the fact groups can no longer apply to Space & Place for further funding, we believe the information provided at feedback sessions can be of use in future applications to other funders.

““We hope even those who are unsuccessful in securing funding will have gathered information and knowledge through the application and consultation process that will help their community in the future, helping them to secure revenue or capital funding.”