The Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency have announced funding of £200,000 to develop plans for eight new Greenway schemes.
The funding has been provided under Stage 3 of the ‘Small Grants Programme for Greenways’ and will award £25,000 for the development of detailed designs for each project proposal across the four council areas of Newry, Mourne and Down, Antrim and Newtownabbey, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and Causeway Coast and Glens.
The eight successful Greenway proposal projects are as follows:
- Downpatrick to Newcastle
- Downpatick to Comber
- Banbridge to Scarva
- Doagh to Larne
- Craigavon to Aghagallon
- Portadown to Caledon (via Armagh)
- Portadown to Moy
- Ballymoney to Ballycastle
Andrew Grieve from the Department for Infrastructure said: “Exercise – Explore – Enjoy: a Strategic Plan for Greenways’ sets out the Department’s ambition for the creation of a 1,000km network across Northern Ireland. This funding will help more Councils to develop greenway projects that align with that plan and we look forward to seeing their proposals move towards fruition.”
Mary Black, Assistant Director for Health Improvement at the Public Health Agency added: “We are delighted to be working with the Department for Infrastructure to support Greenway development as the Greenways provide opportunities for children and adults to incorporate walking and cycling into their everyday lives, whether for active travel, recreation or health.
“As many adults and children are not taking the recommended amounts of physical activity, enhancing the infrastructure to help everyone get more active is a positive step. Being physically active can help prevent a number of serious health conditions and can cut your risk of heart disease and some cancers, as well as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and joint pain. It also helps to boost mood and reduce depression and anxiety.”
The Small Grants for Greenways Programme is a three stage competition which was launched in March 2015. Under Stage 1 Councils were invited to submit Expressions of Interest. Under Stage 2, 20 grants were offered to Councils to develop a feasibility study for their proposed greenway schemes in June 2018, the Public Health Agency secured a further £200,000 for the development of detailed designs for a further eight greenway schemes in association with the Department for Infrastructure.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) recommends daily activity levels of adults aiming for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days (at least five days) each week. For health benefits activities should last 10 minutes or more. Any physical activity however is better than none. And children should have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
Hazzard welcomes £200,000 additional investment for eight new Greenway designs
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has welcomed the announcement by the Department of Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency of £200,000 in additional funding to develop plans for eight new Greenway schemes.
The South Down MP said: “As the former Infrastructure Minister who launched the Greenways strategy, I am delighted to see funding being used to support Greenway development across the North.
“This investment will mean better opportunities for walking and cycling for children and adults.
“Having launched the strategy on the old Belfast & Co Down railway line in Dundrum I’m delighted to see the route is again included in the list of areas receiving additional funding at this next stage.
“The potential of linking the highly successful Comber Greenway to the kingdom of Mourne is really exciting and I will continue to work with local council to ensure this project advances in the months ahead,” added Mr Hazzard.
SDLP MLA Colin McGrath has said: “The £200k announcement for eight new Greenway Designs across four local Council areas is extremely welcome news. The Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency have earmarked this money to be spent on plans to develop new Greenway Schemes including one from Downpatrick to Newcastle and Downpatrick to Comber. “
“£50k of his funding will be awarded to two schemes in the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area. Greenway Development is to be welcomed, supported and encouraged where possible. Every one of us should be getting fresh air, exercise and going on foot or bike where possible.
“We all know that life can become very sedentary especially as we get older so it’s vital that projects such as this are nurtured and developed so we can strive to improve our mental and physical wellbeing whilst enjoying the beauty that is around us.
“I appreciate that schemes such as this are early days and depend on many variables however they have to start somewhere so I commend the PHA and he Department for directing finds in this fashion and I look forward to supporting these projects as they progress and develop.”