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Derry interface children get £630k for parks on each side of divide

By Donna Deeney

Published 28/09/2015

Derry community workers from each area came together to secure the funding
Derry community workers from each area came together to secure the funding

Children living on either side of a notorious interface in the Waterside are to get a new play park each.

The parks will be built on the Protestant Irish Street and across the divide in the Catholic Top of the Hill.

They are expected to be completed by March next year thanks to funding from the Department of Social Development of £570,000 while Derry City and Strabane District Council will contribute £60,000.

Community workers from each area came together to secure the funding.

Claire Russell, centre manager with the Irish Street Community Centre, said: “This will totally transform the current park in Irish Street, which has been in existence for up to 50 years, with little or no redevelopment during that time.

“But more importantly, it will provide our children and young people with a new, up-to-date, safe and welcoming environment for them to play.

“There is no doubt that this investment will help to improve the physical health and mental well-being of families in the Irish Street area and beyond.”

Geraldine O Donnell, strategic development manager with Hillcrest Trust based in Top of the Hill added: “These play parks will not only improve the physical image of these areas but will provide safe, fun and stimulating environments which will hugely benefit local children in many ways by improving young people’s health and well-being.

“This successful funding bid is an example of statutory agencies and community organisations working collaboratively to deliver projects that will make a real and lasting difference to the lives of many.”

Mayor Elisha McCallion, said the success of the council along with the two community groups to secure funding from the DSD’s capital funds was an example of the benefits from two communities working together.

She said: “This is another example of local communities identifying a need in their local area and working with the council and the DSD to secure relevant funding.

“I am delighted that the Irish Street and Rose Court areas are to benefit from much-needed investment in play facilities.

“The importance of play and outdoor activity for children cannot be understated, particularly at a time when computer games and television feature so prominently in the everyday lives of our children and young people.

“The Council is committed to play provision in the city and district and to actively encouraging children and young people to get involved in play and an active, healthy lifestyle.”

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