Plans for new community centre

Culture, arts and leisure minister Car�l n� Chuil�n pictured meeting community workers at the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership last week. (1502MM10)

Culture, arts and leisure minister Car�l n� Chuil�n pictured meeting community workers at the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership last week. (1502MM10)

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The Ballymagroarty area could soon get a new purpose built community centre if plans by a local community group get the go ahead.

The Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership (BHCP) carried out an extensive survey in the area recently and the results showed a demand for a new community facility.

Martin Gallagher, manager of BHCP said a number of sites are currently under consideration in order to find the right location for the proposed community centre.

“We are looking for a new community building for the area that would become a hub for the entire community,” he said.

“We carried out a survey throughout the area and every house was given the opportunity to respond and we asked local people what they wanted and there was a massive response for a new community building,” he said.

Mr Gallagher also said the area is in need of a purpose built community facility. “We are operating out of a house and a flat at the moment and while we do what we can, we are obviously limited in what offer because of pressures of space.

“The schools have been great in terms of access to their facilities but there is a limit and there is clearly a huge demand for a proper community facility here,” he said.

He also said they have looked at community centres in other areas. “We visited a place called the Community Hub in Craigavon to look at their facilities and of course places closer to home like the Healthy Living Centre in Creggan, in order to find best practise.

“We have looked at eight sites in the area and have an independent expert drawing up a matrix to see what we require in terms of the best possible site,” she said.

Mr Gallagher also said there is a demand for more sports and leisure facilities in the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank areas.

Last week, culture, arts and leisure minister Carál ní Chuilín visited the area to discuss the need for facilities with local community workers and residents.

“The minister was here hearing about the plans for a new third generation pitch in this area. We identified the need for more facilities and the project around the pitch was pushed forward by us.

“It will be built at the youth club and will include a seven-a-side 3G pitch that can also be used as three five-a-side pitches.

Sinn Féin councillor for the area Eric McGinley praised the work of the community group. “The Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank areas have been seriously lacking in facilities and it is vitally important that the needs of the local community are met,” he said.