A new community facility has opened in Drumsurn, Limavady as the Little Rascals Community Playgroup realises its dream for new premises having spent years in a portacabin.
The project received £340,000 in funding from the Big Lottery Funded Space & Place Programme thanks to National Lottery players, and will embody the Playgroup’s ethos of ‘play to grey’.
The new Centre is set to provide a place where children can be cared for in a stimulating environment, and where young people will have the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of programmes and activities.
The Centre will also welcome parents and older people from the wider community, providing an opportunity for people to take part in classes which will serve to increase skills, social connections and employability in the area.
Speaking about the opening of the Centre, Marie McCutcheon from Little Rascals said: "From an original idea of enhancing the existing pre-school provision in the area, we were challenged, encouraged and supported by the Space & Place Programme to broaden our horizons to see how our proposed project could connect more people within our community, and it is something we are most grateful for as we are delighted to be officially opening our Nurturing Families Centre which will provide facilities from, "play to grey".
Marie continued: “The centre will offer everyone in the community opportunities to access additional services and programmes which up until now would have proved difficult to access. Little Rascals Playgroup is confident that the work we can do in bringing more people and communities together through our splendid Nurturing Families Centre will be a fitting legacy to the Space & Place Programme".
The Big Lottery Fund’s Space & Place programme is delivered by a consortium headed up by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
Michael Hughes Programme Co-ordinator for the Space & Place Programme said: "From small beginnings this is a hugely important day for Little Rascals and the Drumsurn community. Throughout the group's engagement with the Space & Place Programme, it has been a pleasure to see not only the construction work develop but also the confidence and the skills of both the staff and the voluntary committee.
“This is a project that richly demonstrates the value of the Space & Place Programme as it has enabled the group to provide a facility for this rural community that will enhance social capital in the area, building bridges and links within and outside of the community. This project has really connected more people throughout its development, and I am confident that as the centre progresses many more connections will be made and nurtured," said Michael.
Alongside connecting and empowering people within the community, the Centre will act as a link to other community associations and schools in the area.
Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Chair Julie Harrison said: “We are delighted to see how Little Rascals Community Playgroup has worked with local people to develop this facility.
“This has been made possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, and we are looking forward to seeing the difference it will make to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area they live in,” said Julie.