National Lottery players help create new £340,000 outdoor activity space in West Belfast

A new outdoor activity space has opened at the Michael Davitts GAC complex in West Belfast following the transformation of derelict and abandoned ground supported by an investment of £341,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund through the CFNI Space & Place Programme thanks to #National Lottery Players The project, which includes children’s playground, community allotments and an expansive trim trail complete with outdoor gym equipment offering spectacular views over the city of Belfast, provided new opportunities for people living in the local area to engage in a range of outdoor activities that can make a positive contribution to both physical and mental well-being.

This new community resource has also made a vital contribution to the regeneration of a much larger project promoted by Michael Davitts which has seen the development of a new playing pitch, MUGA and club rooms.

Chairman of Michael Davitts GAC Tommy Shaw said that this was a very important day in the history of the club which has seen the complete transformation of a space within an urban environment that was once experienced high levels of anti-social behaviour that presented many challenges to the club and the local community. As a club firmly rooted within our community, we are pleased to have worked with local residents to explore how best this space could be used to provide facilities that would bring health and well-being benefits across a wider range of ages. We are proud that the opening of this new activity space re-affirms our commitment to our local community and thank the Space & Place Programme and National Lottery Community Fund for their support.

Michael Hughes Space & Place Programme Co-ordinator said that the opening of this transformed space represents a new era for what was a blight on the local community The Michael Davitts’ club and the adjacent communities must be congratulated for working together to identify how the space could be used for more positive and productive activities. Michael added that what once was an area that had negative health and wellbeing impacts on local people as a result of high levels of anti-social behaviour now is one where through outdoor activity the local community have huge opportunities to enhance their physical and mental health in a safe and fit for purpose environment.

Julie Harrison, The National Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, said: “National Lottery funding has allowed the development of this wonderful new space, including nature and trim trails, an outdoor green gym, a children’s play park and community garden and allotment area. We believe it will make a real difference 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 the National Lottery players who have made it possible.”