Olympic hopes as National Lottery funding helps transform underused space in Carrickmore

A new outdoor facility is set to provide a welcome boost to the community in Carrickmore including its Special Olympics team as an outdoor gym and athletics standard running track has been created on the site of Pairc Éire Óg in Carrickmore.

The project which received £309,170 in funding from the Big Lottery Funded Space & Place Programme, has been developed on the site of a previously underused and neglected space in the village and has been made possible with the help of National Lottery players and the hard work of Eire Og An Charraig Mhor Hurling and Camogie Club. The Club itself contributed significant funds to the project. 

Speaking about the project at its launch event, Declan Bennett from Eire Og An Charraig Mhor Hurling and Camogie Club said:

“The money received from Space and Place has allowed Eire Og to transform the area that has in previous years been totally underutilized and contested into something that all of the community can use in a way that benefits their health and wellbeing as well as helping to address the main issues that we face as a rural community.”

As well as contributing to the health of people living in the area, the new facility is also set to help tackle a range of issues such as rural isolation and a lack of facilities in a community which has experienced a growth in population.

A new sensory community garden with seating as well as a Men’s Shed and a semi covered area for indoor games and events such as farmers markets and fundraisers will ensure that the new facility maximises the space available for local people to participate in a wide range of activities.

Michael Hughes Co-ordinator of the Space & Place Programme said: “The Space & Place Programme is delighted to see how the Club has used funding from the Programme to create an imaginative multi-use space which will truly help enhance the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds living in Carrickmore.

“It is remarkable to see how what was previously a contested and neglected space, now not only houses an athletics standard running track but also has the ability to create better connections for people with the addition of features like a Men’s Shed. We are excited to see what the future holds for the community and wish them well with their new facility”.

Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Chair Julie Harrison said: “We are delighted to see how Eire Oghave worked with local people to develop this wonderful facility. We believe this space, 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 enjoy the area that they live in.”