On the cusp of something amazing

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Exciting times lie ahead for the people living at the Top of the Hill and the greater Waterside area.

This was the message from Hillcrest Trust, a new group formed following the merger of Hillcrest House and Top of the Hill 2010.

Karen Mullan and Geraldine O’Donnell are the two women tasked with leading the physical and social regeneration of the area and the pair say the Waterside is on the cusp of exciting times.

The two committees have now merged - and while much work has already been done, more is to come in the future including a new state of the art community centre and a sports hall which will provide a one stop shop for all the needs of the community.

Karen Mullan explained that the former Immaculate Conception College site has been identified for multi-purpose use including a community centre with a sports hall attached to it.

“We are hoping to increase our work with the statutory services to provide a wide range of programmes,” she said. “It will be council built and community managed. There is a tie in with a number of partners including the education authority and there are plans to have a youth wing on the community centre.”

Geraldine O’Donnell said the plans include social housing, which there is a severe shortage of at the Top of the Hill.

“Seventy-nine units will be built initially,” she said. “And it’s hoped this can be followed up with a second phase. We are on the cusp of something every exciting here.

“Funders have a greater confidence in the new organisation which has a more efficient administrative function and a greater capacity to deliver larger projects supporting the community and voluntary sector as well as a greater capacity to attract more resources.

“In the past year we have seen the refurbishment of the Whistle Project and Derryview Child Care Centre as well as the construction of a new play park at Rose Court which is now nearing completion.”

The Immaculate conception school site is around 14 acres big.

The Trust has plans, once the community and centre and sports hall are built to develop the outside space.

“We are delighted that Pearse’s GAA Club have got funding for their pitch at Corrody,” said Karen.

“There is also a development planned at Clondermott and these sports facilities will be linked together.”

“We want to create better links with residents to get them more involved,” said Karen.

“The foundation blocks are being built for the community centre and we will continue to work for all of the people in the area.”

Work is ongoing to deliver a new community centre in the area with tenders being released shortly by council to take the development to stage D design.