The Mayor, Councillor Gerard Diver, officially opened a new state- of -the -art play environment at Claudy Country Park to the local community on Saturday, 27 September 2008.
The £250,00 project is managed by Derry City Council on behalf of John Mitchell GAC and is part financed by Derry City Council through the Parks Development Programme; the European Union through the Peace II Programme and managed for the SEUPB by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC) to the sum of £89,225; the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) (£68,000), and is supported by Rural Area Partnership in Derry (RAPID) and Greencare North West Project.
Welcoming the opening of the facility, the Mayor said the provision of a shared space in the Claudy area was a vital project for the rural area. He commented: “This investment is part of the wider regeneration of the area to improve access and facilities at a district wide level. A lot of work has gone into getting this project up and running and I would like to acknowledge the role played by the various funding agencies and community organisations that made it possible. I am confident the Claudy community greatly benefit from the provision of this exciting and new play environment. It marks a significant investment for the rural area and will provide much needed and enhanced recreational facilities for the whole community.”
Speaking on behalf of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council, Board member Leslie Craig, commented, “RDC is very proud to have been able to work with this group in the development of the play park. A core objective of this project was the re-development of an open space to serve the whole community. Developing community pride and enhancing the opportunities available for both communities to meet and enjoy local natural resources was also top of the agenda for the group. RDC also wanted to ensure that opportunities for peace and reconciliation were provided through the provision of amenities, catering for both communities irrespective of background. I am very glad to say we have overachieved on all the goals. People young and old will now be able to meet here in a neutral environment, which has at its essence a sense of fun and enjoyment. Hearty congratulations to John Mitchell’s GAC who have worked very hard to make this idea a reality for everyone who lives here”.
John McDaid, International Fund for Ireland, Board Member commented “This cross community play area is a perfect example of the type of work the Fund is doing at grassroots level to encourage our young people to have a greater understanding and mutual respect of each others cultures. Supporting and encouraging neighbourhoods where everyone in the community is valued and respected and where diversity is celebrated is fundamental to building lasting peace and a stable society in Northern Ireland.”
John Kelpie, City Engineer with Derry City Council acknowledged the important role of the funders and the project team involved in progressing the initiative. “This is another example of a successful partnership between various organisations. This new play facility is sympathetic to the parkland and brings added value to the local environment. The Council is delighted to be working with key stakeholders in providing enhanced play facilities for the people of Claudy and the wider rural community.”
Vincent McCloskey Chairman of John Mitchell GAC said: “John Mitchell’s GAC would like to extend their thanks to Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC), the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), Derry City Council, RAPID and Groundswork NI for their support in Claudy Play Area and making this scheme a reality. The state of the art play facility will be an asset to the community of Claudy and we are delighted to see the project successfully completed and hope the local community will enjoy it.”
Jim McColgan, commented that RAPID were delighted to support John Mitchells GAC in the development of the Claudy Play Park. This project provides much needed play and recreational facilities in the rural area. The new Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2013 will provide opportunities to build on the good practice throughout the rural area over the next few years."
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