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Blackwatertown gets £700,000 boost to economy

Published on:  01 Nov 2007

A new business centre in Blackwatertown, Armagh that could create up to 12 new jobs was officially launched today (Friday 11th January 2008) by Alexander Smith, Joint Director General of the International Fund for Ireland and Liam Quinn, Department for Social Development.
Situated on the banks of the river Blackwater, the £700,000 project which has been developed by Blackwatertown Development Association will create a high spec office block of 672 square metres, providing 10 lettable units for start up and established businesses.
The project is being funded by the International Fund for Ireland (£267,431), the Department for Social Development (£267,431), the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (£66,505), Armagh City Council (£34,577) as well as a loan of £62,000 from Ulster Community Investment Trust. The remainder of the funding has been raised by Blackwatertown Development Association.
Blackwatertown Development Association was set up in 1992 to promote economic and community development in the village. The project will enable the Association to boost economic regeneration in the area by supporting personal enterprise via the provision of affordable workspace units. 
Speaking at the official launch, Alexander Smith, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Blackwatertown Development Association in this vital project which will have a major social and economic impact in the area.

“Creating conditions where businesses can flourish has been a key area of activity for the Fund and I am positive that this new building will help to drive increased investment in the area.”

Liam Quinn, Deputy Director, Department for Social Development, said:  “I am delighted to see the commencement of work to the business centre and commend Blackwatertown Development Association for their hard work and endurance in undertaking a development of this scale which can act as a catalyst for encouraging both community involvement and further local confidence and regeneration in the area.

Facilities such as these are critical to the regeneration of the local economy and bring a much needed addition to the village which will inspire further investment to the benefits of the community as a whole. I look forward to seeing the completed work.” 

Paul Carr, Head of European Programmes, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment said: “In providing £66,505 to this project from the Peace II Programme, DETI aims to support the economic transition of Northern Ireland to a more stable, peaceful and prosperous society through the construction of economic
infrastructure. This workspace development will stimulate growth, encourage investment and create employment opportunities for the people of the area.

Charles Rollston, Mayor of Armagh, said: ‘This project is testament to the significant effort and energy invested by Blackwatertown Development Association.  The Council is pleased to offer support to this economic project which will bring jobs and regeneration to the Blackwatertown area.”

John Campbell, Chairman of Blackwatertown Development Association, said that once completed the facilities would make a significant contribution to the regeneration of Blackwatertown.

He said: “When Blackwatertown Development Association was formed in 1992, economic activity in the area was very limited and there was extensive dereliction and underdevelopment in the area. Since then we have worked with the public and private sectors to transform the situation, particularly with the provision of facilities for new businesses and the creation of jobs.”

“I would like to personally thank all the funders involved - the International Fund for Ireland, the Department for Social Development, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and Armagh City Council for their determination in getting this project off the ground.”

Work has already started on the new business centre and is expected to be completed by July 2008.

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