A new district park and tourist facility has opened in Fermanagh following a £1M investment from the Big Lottery Fund NI’s Space & Place Programme. The project also received the backing of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, and additional support from the Garfield Weston Foundation
The new Park which was delivered by the North Fermanagh Valley Park Group entailed a unique collaboration between community groups in Kesh and Ederney.
Alongside transforming derelict space in the area, the new Fermanagh facility includes a mountain bike track, walking trails, a community gym, running track and a space for public events across the two villages of Ederney and Kesh.
A programme of activities to help embed shared working and to enhance connectivity between the villages is also planned, whilst the new park is set to enhance the tourist offering in the area with greater accessibility to leisure facilities for people living in West Tyrone and Donegal.
Sean Donnelly representing the North Fermanagh Valley Park Group said: “We are delighted to finally be able to bring the project to fruition and can really see the benefit of two communities coming together in a shared space in both villages. Cross community working is now embedded in our community and this project has made this possible by helping lay the foundations for us to build on,” said Sean.
The North Fermanagh Valley Park was one of three projects awarded £1M by the Space & Place Programme which recently celebrated awards totalling £12.9M given to communities across NI thanks to National Lottery players.
Julie Harrison Big Lottery Fund NI Chair said: “We believe this wonderful new park, which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, 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.”
Michael Hughes co-ordinator of the Space & Place Programme said: “We were delighted to award the North Fermanagh Valley Park Group £1M towards the creation of this fantastic new park. This group had a wonderful vision for how their communities could be better connected through the reimagining of a derelict space with the creation of new facilities shared between two villages.
“They have exceeded our expectations with the space they have created and it is a truly amazing legacy for the Programme that this project also reflects key aims of Space & Place which is the transformation of unused or contested space,” said Michael.
The North Fermanagh Valley Park project involved a partnership between Ederney Community Development Trust, Kesh Development Association and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Vice Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cllr John Feely, said: “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council was pleased to be a partner on the North Fermanagh Valley Project. The project will deliver so much for those living in the area with the development of new community facilities in both villages and relations between the neighbouring communities.
“The official opening of the North Fermanagh Valley Park is a great example of what can be achieved by working in partnership and I would like to commend all those involved in the project,” said Cllr Feely.
Tributes were also paid at the launch event to contractor Barry McQuaid who sadly passed away during construction of the project earlier this year.