Rural Areas to Benefit from Million Pound Play Parks Project
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council this week celebrated the launch of a major construction and upgrade of play parks. This project was part funded by the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership, which is a programme supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union, with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council also contributing towards the overall investment.
The development of the play facilities will see children and young people across the district benefit from the latest state-of-the-art equipment in the rural areas of Meigh, Belleek, Jonesborough, Burren, Killough, Drumaness, Crossgar, Drumintee, Lurganare, Forkhill, Cullaville, Cullyhanna, Ballyholland, Killyleagh and Lislane.
The overall project was launched recently when local school children and dignitaries from the Council and funding bodies gathered to mark the occasion. The new and upgraded play parks contain many innovative features including a ‘Theta’ fitness adventure trail, zip-line and multi-play units installed onsite. The new facilities also include features like a storyteller’s chair, swirl roundabouts and a block pave maze area.
Several play parks have been installed with sport-active equipment featuring a team-based, outdoor, electronic platform, providing a competitive play arena on which both children and adults are challenged to compete against each other. This high tech, interactive equipment encourages healthy activity for all.
Launching the project, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “The Council is delighted to launch this major programme of new build and upgrade of 15 play parks in rural communities across the district area. Inclusive play is encouraged by the design of these parks, which will provide fun activities and help to keep children healthy, while promoting social cohesion and inclusion for all.”
Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership funded the project to the value of £500,000. Chairperson of the Local Action Group (LAG), Councillor Roisin Mulgrew commented, “It is rewarding to see this partnership approach between Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the Rural Development Partnership and the local communities in these rural areas coming to fruition with the opening of these fabulous new state-of-the-art play parks. I’m pleased that the parks are open in perfect time for spring, when these facilities will soon echo with the laughter of our children and young people.”
DAERA representative, Jerome Burns added, “The Department is delighted to be a partner in this project which has produced such a significant impact across the district. Council funding, matched with DAERA and EU funding through the Rural Development Fund, has maximised the overall impact. The positive benefits of play for children is matched by the positive impacts on the whole rural community, including improved access to facilities, health and well-being and community cohesion.”