Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

£800k sports centre is officially opened

(L-r) Glenda Davies, chair of South-West Belfast Neighbourhood Partnership, Michael McGimpsey MLA, Margaret Ritchie, Ernie Corbett, chairperson of Sandy Row Community Forum and Sandra McKenna from DSD's regeneration office at the new games area

A NEW £800,000 multi-use games area in the Sandy Row area of south Belfast has been officially opened.

Residents described the investment in the facility as “positive news for Sandy Row and the wider south-west Belfast area”.

The facility will have areas to play football and basketball and will include new changing rooms. It is a result of a partnership between the local community sector, the Department for Social Development (DSD), Belfast City Council (BCC) and the private sector.

Ernie Corbett, chairperson of Sandy Row Community Forum, said: “This is very positive news for Sandy Row and the wider south-west Belfast area.

“It will allow Sandy Row to build upon and enhance decades of service to a community that has suffered over the years from the Troubles.”

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie, speaking last week as she officially opened the new facility, stressed the importance of addressing the needs of the community by providing local facilities for the participation and development of sport and physical/social activities.

“This is great news for the people of Sandy Row and the surrounding area. Years of effort by the Sandy Row community have culminated in the construction of these state-of-the-art facilities, which will help meet the recreational and sporting needs of the community,” she said.

“It is important that we all continue to work towards meeting the needs of those who live in disadvantaged areas and those who do not. I want to close the gap between the quality of life for people in Sandy Row and the rest of society.”

BCC, who provided the land for the facility, will assume responsibility for its future maintenance in conjunction with Sandy Row Community Forum. Councillor Bob Stoker said the project will “bring many long-term health and sporting benefits to the local community”.

The total cost of the games area was £789,699. DSD contributed £758,749 while Big Picture Developments contributed £30,950.

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