Hilltown And Kilclief Awarded Funding For Playparks

New Play Park Facilities For Hilltown and Kilclief Villages.

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New Play Park Facilities For Hilltown and Kilclief Villages.  

Mourne Gullion and Lecale (MGL) Rural Development Partnership has awarded funding of £150,000 from the Village Renewal Scheme.


Left to right: Pictured at the newly installed children’s play park at Kilclief are Councillor Oonagh Hanlon; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin; Alan Montgomery, Local Action Group Member; Councillor Gerry O’Hare; Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Local Action Group Chairperson and Councillor Robert Burgess, Local Action Group Member.

This scheme, managed through of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2014-2020, involved Newry Mourne and Down District Council in the development of the two play parks in the villages of Hilltown and Kilclief. 

Extensive stakeholder consultation identified the need for new play provisions within these villages.

The aim of funding the playparks is to ensure the children and young people have equal opportunities to play.

Both local communities and importantly the children and young people of these areas, helped in the play parks’ design, with features which would ultimately have a positive impact on their overall health and wellbeing.  

Kilclief village, which previously had no play provision, now boasts a new play park on a site adjacent to Kilclief GAC.

Children and young people of all abilities throughout the wider community are now availing of a range of interactive and challenging play equipment.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin, said, “These projects are an excellent example of collaborative working between the funding bodies – MGL Rural Development Partnership, DAERA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, together with the Council and our local stakeholders.

“They have come together to bring vital services to our rural communities providing equal opportunities and shared access”

Local children helped in the design of the playparks.

The village of Hilltown welcomed a significant redevelopment of its existing play park located in Spelga Park, in March 2020. The all-encompassing play park offers play opportunities for all abilities with fun and engaging features. 

Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of MGL Rural Development Partnership said: “The two play parks are fantastic additions to both communities and their wider localities.

“It is wonderful to see the design visions of the children and young people become reality, along with the pride and ownership they are taking in the new facilities.

“Projects such as these are the epitome of rural development, empowering our communities to make decisions which will positively impact their lives”.

Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership is one of ten Local Action Groups delivering the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 across Northern Ireland.

It has been allocated a budget of approximately £11.18 million from the programme’s overall budget of £70 million to support rural communities in Newry, Mourne and Down.

The Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Partnership delivers key schemes which together will lead to the investment of up to £11.18million of grant aid in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area:

  • Rural Business Investment to support the creation and development of micro and small enterprises (including farm diversification and private tourism businesses) in rural areas.
  • Rural Basic Services, to support capital investments which will provide access to basic services or improvements in social infrastructure (including activities to reduce isolation and/or poverty) to improve the welfare and access to basic services of those living in rural areas.
  • Village Renewal, which will provide financial support primarily for the drafting of integrated village plans and for the renewal of rural villages through village plans.
  • Cooperation projects, which take place as a joint action between two or more Local Action Groups and provides mutual benefit for each partner.