A new district park has been created on the site of the former Faughan Valley School following funding of £1million from the Big Lottery funded Space & Place Programme which enabled the transformation of derelict and unused space in the Drumahoe area.
Drumahoe District Park will offer a range of facilities for the benefit of people living in the Derry City and Strabane Council areas, thanks to National Lottery players and the hard work of a number of local organisations.
The project which was over seven years in the planning, saw Derry City & Strabane District Council working in partnership with a range of organisations including Drumahoe Community Association, Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership, Tullyally Community Partnership, Education Authority Western Region, and Drumahoe Primary School.
The District Park which has completely reimagined the derelict space now features a new playground, wildflower meadow, meeting space, synthetic pitch and changing rooms, providing a range of facilities for the benefit of people living in the Derry City and Strabane District Council areas.
The new park also offers increased access to Drumahoe pitches as well as a walking trail along the River Faughan. It was one of three Flagship Space & Place projects across Northern Ireland receiving grants to help communities transform unused or underutilised spaces and connect more people.
Speaking about the new Drumahoe District Park, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle said:
“I am delighted and excited that this key community project has been completed and is now open to the public and I would like to congratulate all the stakeholders who worked closely and effectively to bring it to fruition.
“The Drumahoe District Park brings much needed recreational infrastructure to the area and will act as a hub for the community to come together and enjoy leisure facilities in the outdoors.
“Importantly the work opens up access to the very scenic River Faughan allowing people from all over the City and District to visit and explore this area of natural beauty.”
Speaking on behalf of the project partnership, Hilary McClintock said:
“The local community are delighted that this overgrown and derelict space in the heart of Drumahoe has been transformed for the benefit not only of the local community but for the wider district.
"A strong partnership was created with community and statutory agencies coming together to access the massive £1,000,000 contribution from Space and Place. This is an exciting time to see this part of our vision become a reality and this community corridor created for the benefit of so many people,” said Hilary.
The Space & Place Programme is a £15 million Big Lottery Fund capital grants scheme which seeks to connect more people and communities by making use of underused or difficult space. The programme is delivered by a consortium headed up by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
Speaking on behalf of the Education Authority and Drumahoe Primary School, Terry McMaster MBE said:
“I would encourage every leader in education to ‘chase the dream’ that we had here in Drumahoe and to ‘partner up’ with both statutory and voluntary bodies with the end result today showing just what is possible when people are prepared to work together for a common cause.”
Michael Hughes Space & Place Programme Coordinator said: “The Space & Place Consortium is delighted to see this fantastic new District Park opening to the public in Drumahoe. The park was one of three Flagship projects funded by the Space & Place Programme and received an award of £1million which has been used to create an exceptional facility for local people.
“The goal of the Space & Place Programme is to create enhanced connections between communities through the better use of contested or neglected space, and this substantial investment in Drumahoe District Park will make a positive impact across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.”
Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Director said: “We are looking forward to seeing the difference this facility will make to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area that they live in. We want to thank National Lottery players for making this possible.”