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£1.25m regeneration centre to reduce interface tensions

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 Gerard Rice, Cromac regeneration Initiative chairman; Nelson McCausland, Department for Social Development Minister; David Graham, International Fund Ireland board member and Gerry McClory, community development officer, at the opening of the new Cromac community hub

Gerard Rice, Cromac regeneration Initiative chairman; Nelson McCausland, Department for Social Development Minister; David Graham, International Fund Ireland board member and Gerry McClory, community development officer, at the opening of the new Cromac community hub

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Gerard Rice, Cromac regeneration Initiative chairman; Nelson McCausland, Department for Social Development Minister; David Graham, International Fund Ireland board member and Gerry McClory, community development officer, at the opening of the new Cromac community hub

A new £1.25m community interaction hub has opened its doors on a contentious interface area in south Belfast.

The Cromac Regeneration Initiative, located on the junction of Ormeau Road and Donegall Pass, has been designed with the aim of improving community relationships and reducing interface tensions.

The initiative – developed by Donegall Pass Community Forum, Markets Development Association and the Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group – will facilitate a range of activities between the communities to help reduce tensions and address common issues like drugs, unemployment and community safety.

Opening the facility Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland said: "I would like to commend the work of the three communities involved in this project, which is an excellent example of what can be achieved to tackle deprivation through a partnership approach.

"The funding, provided through my Department has helped create an impressive facility where people from all local areas can now come to meet and work in a modern, state of the art environment."

The International Fund for Ireland provided a total of £800,000 towards the development which complemented an award of £88,000 of revenue support.

Gerard Rice, Chairman of Cromac Regeneration Initiative said: "This facility is an asset to all three neighbouring communities and will enhance the work being carried out jointly through our Neighbourhood Action Plan.

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"For the first time, residents of all ages from the three communities will have access to a neutral space that allows them to take part in activities that promote mutual gain," he continued.

"It opens up new opportunities to bring a wide cross section of both communities together and encourage greater interaction.

"I believe this facility will have a very positive impact for reconciliation and promoting greater cross-community links in south Belfast for years to come," added Mr Rice.


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