Minister for Communities, Paul Givan MLA, today officially opened three projects in the Waterside area of Derry funded by an investment totalling £800,806 by the Department for Communities (DfC).
The projects are the refurbished Clooney Community Centre and two play parks, one at Irish Street and the other at Rose Court.
The play parks boast modern, child-friendly and safe play facilities. They include a variety of play equipment catering for different ages and have been designed to promote play and family based activities.
Minister Givan said: “My Department’s investment of £552,450 now means local children have play parks which are inviting, fun and safe spaces to play. The previous facilities at both Rose Court and Irish Street were very dilapidated and no longer fit for purpose. The transformation of these play parks is wonderful and the new facilities will be a great benefit to the local and surrounding communities for many years to come.”
Speaking about the development of the new play parks, Minister Givan said: “These projects are a great example of partnership working between my Department, Derry City & Strabane District Council and local people. I am also delighted that my Department and the Council have been able to progress Currynierin Greenspace to planning stage. By this combined effort we can respond to community need and deliver positive spaces for all.”
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Hilary McClintock says the provision of new play park facilities is hugely significant for the local communities.
She said: “The play parks are fantastic and provide state of the art facilities with recreational spaces for those living in the Irish Street and Rose Court areas. I am delighted that the facilities are being utilised by local families in the area and are playing an important role in encouraging young children to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle. Council is delighted to be associated with the project and would like to acknowledge the close working partnership arrangements between the Department, Council and the local community and voluntary sector in successfully bringing these projects to fruition. The provision of quality and accessible play park facilities across our Council area is one of our key objectives and is an important part of our promotion of health and wellbeing in our communities.”
Minister Givan also visited Clooney Community Centre, which has been redeveloped by the Residents Association to upgrade the interior, including improved layout, access and an extended kitchen. The refurbishment ensures all rooms are individually accessible and flexible for a wide range of uses.
The Minister commented: “Clooney Estate Residents Association has received funding of £248,355 through Neighbourhood Renewal to extensively renovate the interior of the Community Centre. It is clear from my visit that this facility provides a community focal point for residents, with a wide range of education and social opportunities available. I am pleased to see they now have the facilities to meet their needs and I am confident the projects and activities on offer can only be enhanced through this investment.”
Betty O’Reilly, Project Manager for Clooney Estate Residents Association said: “The refurbishment of Clooney Community centre has significantly and positively impacted upon our programmes and service delivery. A bright, vibrant and efficient use of the space allows much greater scope for a varied range of programmes and services. It also provides a safe and secure setting for children and young people and an accessible space for all. This is an exciting time for our community and signals the birth of new growth and development in the area.”
Ending the visit, Minister Givan concluded: “By investing in our infrastructure, my Department is investing in the local and surrounding communities of the Waterside and Londonderry. I congratulate everyone involved on the successful completion of these projects, and I am confident the facilities will be greatly appreciated and used by the local people, benefiting the entire community.”
These latest projects are part of an extensive programme of capital investment by the Department for Communities across Neighbourhood Renewal areas in Derry, totalling £1.7m in the last year.