THE Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland has opened a new £160,000 play park at Ballymote in Downpatrick.
The new facility, which was financed by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development’s Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund, provides a state of the art play area for the children of the Flying Horse Estate, The Model and The New Model Estates[caption id="attachment_46023" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Down District Council Chairperson Cllr Maria McCarthy and Gabriel Trueman, Chair of the Downpatrick Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership, pictured with DSD Minister Nelson McCausland, centre, cutting the ribbon to officially open the new Ballymote playpark in Downpatrick.[/caption]
Minister McCausland said: “Play is an integral part of children’s development helping build social skills and also promoting active and healthy lifestyles. This new play park will provide a much needed source of fun and enjoyment for young people and families in the area and will also enhance the local environment. I am pleased that my department has been able to fund this very worthwhile project.”[caption id="attachment_46024" align="alignright" width="390"] DSD Minister Nelson McCausland has officially opened the new playpark at Ballymote in Downpatrick.[/caption]
Stressing the importance of addressing the needs of the community through partnership working, Minister McCausland said: “My Department is actively engaged with local communities and service providers, through the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership Boards, to help identify and address the many causes of disadvantage.
“This project, which was only possible thanks to the spirit of co-operation which exists between DSD, the local community and Down District Council is a clear example of how the Neighbourhood Renewal programme is delivering for the residents of the Downpatrick Neighbourhood Renewal Area.”
Minister McCausland added: “This new playground, which was constructed by Crawford Contracts and managed by Down District Council, further improves the facilities available to the residents of this area. It will complement the Ballymote Sports Complex which was opened in 2011.[caption id="attachment_46026" align="alignleft" width="290"] Enjoying the new playpark at Ballymote is young Kiesha McCartan.[/caption]
“To date DSD has spent just under £3.5million on a range of projects in the Downpatrick Neighbourhood Renewal Area. This is a clear indication of my commitment to tackling disadvantage and promoting regeneration.”
The Chairman of Down District Council, Councillor Maria McCarthy said: “I welcome this project which provides much needed play facilities for the children of this area. It is another example of DSD, in partnership with Down District Council, helping to regenerate the area to make it a more attractive place to visit, shop, work, live and play.”
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie also welcomed the new playpark and said: “This 21st century playground was much needed in the area and it is right that the older one was completely replaced. It is the third one in Downpatrick to be funded through the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership. The others were at Mount Crescent and Marian Park. It is good that the community is working together to achieve these sort of importamt projects.”
Ms Ritchie joked that the new play equipment was “very durable” as she said she has already tested it.
Also speaking at the launch, Gabriel Trueman, Chairman of the Flying Horse Ward Community Forum, said: “We have been working towards this project for many years and I am delighted that we can see the results today at last after the long haul. It has at times been a difficult journey but in the end we are all delighted to see the results. It was certainly made a lot easier by the help from the Neighbourhood team.
“I would like to thank the DSD, Down District Council, the Neighbourhood Renewal team and everyone who helped in this project. We now have much improved provison for our young children with St Colmcille’s Primary School, Sure-Start, the Ballymote Sports and Wellbeing Centre, and a new early years’ playgroup.”]]>