Funding package welcomed across city

Sinn F�in councillors Elisha McCallion and Tony Hassan at the Leafair pitches. (2911MM25)
Sinn F�in councillors Elisha McCallion and Tony Hassan at the Leafair pitches. (2911MM25)

Local politicians and trade union leaders have welcomed the £9.5 million funding package announced for the city as part of the Social Investment Fund.

The money will be spent on a range of projects across the city including the provision of new sports pitches and play facilities. It will fund community work programme to train young people and those in long term unemployment.

Sinn F�in councillor Bridget Meehan. (2911MM25)

Sinn F�in councillor Bridget Meehan. (2911MM25)

£4.5 million will be spent developing new pitches in a number of areas of Derry including Leafair, Ballymagroarty and the Top of the Hill.

A further £3.3 million will go towards delivering community work programmes in Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.

The move was welcomed by Liam Gallagher from Derry Trades Council who said it will help young people find employment.

“This is a welcome development from OFMDFM and it is something that we in Derry Trades Council have been calling for,” he said.

Noel McCartney from the Social Investment Fund added: “This project will present individuals and communities with the tools of empowerment to strive for the change required to move out of deprivation.”

The Leafair Community Association has been awarded £1 million to fund new sports facilities and a 3G pitch in the area. The cash boost was welcomed by local councillors Tony Hassan and Elisha McCallion who said it will make a huge difference to the local community.

“It will also encourage more young people to get involved in sport. This is a good news story for the people of the area to have such facilities right in the heart of the community which for a long time was so badly neglected in terms of not having play parks, decent football pitches and changing rooms,” they said.

£850,000 has been allocated for the development of a pitch as well as play and community facilities at Shaw Court in Ballymagroarty. The news was welcomed by colr. Eric McGinley who said: “This funding is the successful culmination of a long campaign by the local community organisations in the area for improved facilities and highlights the benefits of the Social Investment Fund initiated by Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson.”

In the Top of the Hill area, £350,000 has been awarded for a new gaelic pitch at Na Piarsaigh GAA club. Welcoming the announcement, Sinn Féin colr. Bridget Meehan said; “This news is not only great for Pearse’s but also for the wider community in Top of the Hill.”