Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has agreed that Fort George can be the location of a new Health and Care Centre in Derry.
The Fort George site is owned by the Department for Communities (DfC) who is leading on its regeneration.
After an Expression of Interest exercise, DfC entered an agreement with the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) so that they could further develop their proposal for the Health and Care Centre to be located on the site.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “Fort George is a strategic regeneration site that has huge potential to create real social and economic benefits for the City of Derry and beyond.
“I am delighted to announce that I have agreed to provide part of the site to the Western Health and Social Care Trust for their Health and Care Centre. My Department is committed to maximising Fort George’s potential and is delighted to work with the Trust to accommodate this ambitious development which will deliver key health services to the community in Derry.”
The development of a Cityside Health and Care Centre is anticipated to create 250 new permanent jobs as well as centralising approximately 450 posts in a modern state of the art facility. The positions will include nursing, social work, allied health professional and administrative roles as well as the relocation of a number of GP surgeries.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “This is an important step towards ensuring the delivery of high quality integrated primary and community care services within the city-side of Londonderry, and also towards improving the health service infrastructure within Northern Ireland. I recognise the efforts of all concerned in securing the site for this new facility and my Department will continue to support this project as it moves to the next stage.”
Mr Alan Moore, Director of Strategic Capital Development with the Western Health and Social Care Trust, (Western Trust) said: “The Western Trust welcomes the decision by the Department for Communities Minister to agree to the sale of part of the Fort George site to the Western Trust. I want to thank the Minister and her local officials with whom the Trust has worked closely over the past number of months. The announcement today will assist in facilitating plans for the Cityside Health and Care Centre at Fort George, bringing together GP and associated healthcare services in an integrated model.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey continued: “My Department has already started a piece of work to revise the existing Fort George masterplan. This revised masterplan will determine the location of the Health and Care Centre on the site and will also provide further clarity in relation to further potential development opportunities for the wider site in the future.”
Mayor Pleased to see Public Shopping Local on Visits to Businesses
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, visited some local businesses across the district this week to speak with business owners and staff about moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Tierney said he was happy to speak directly with the businesses in Strabane and Castlederg about the challenges they have faced and the pathway moving forward, as well as hearing about the stringent measures in place to prioritise customer confidence and safety.
“I was glad to meet with some of the local businesses across our district this week and hear more about the positive steps forward now that many of those businesses have reopened or are preparing for a scheduled reopening in the coming weeks.
“It was fantastic to see lots of people supporting those businesses while I was out and about and to see that all of the businesses have measures in place – such as social distancing, hand sanitizer, and limiting customer numbers at any given time – to instil confidence in all members of the public that they can support local and be assured that everything is in place to protect both themselves and staff,” said Mayor Tierney.
Business Revitalisation and Recovery
“I can fully appreciate how much of a challenge the past year has been for our businesses across a wide range of sectors, and I look forward to the weeks ahead when we hope to see more of those sectors reopening and returning to a more normal operation of business.
“Once again I would just like to encourage everyone to support local across the district as much as you can.”
Local businesses who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 are being invited to take part in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s recovery campaign which will focus on promoting the shop local message and supporting local businesses within the district.
Businesses who have faced challenges over the past year as a result of the pandemic can make contact via Council’s shop local website to express an interest in becoming part of the campaign by 14th May 2021.
The campaign is being organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with funding through the Department of Communities’ Business Revitalisation and Recovery Programme.
Mural to Mark Farren Unveiled at Brandywell
Derry City and Strabane District Council have unveiled a mural to former Derry City player Mark Farren at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The mural, which was painted by local company Peaball Creatives, was unveiled to Mark’s parents Michael and Kathleen, and his aunt Brigid. Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Cllr Brian Tierney was in attendance, alongside Derry City FC Chairman Philip O’Doherty and Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins.
The mural has been placed on the tunnel of the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in the stand which has also been named after Mark, who played for Derry City from 2003 to 2012 and made 209 appearances for the Candystripes.
A Positive Legacy
Mark tragically passed away in 2016 aged 33 after a brave battle with cancer, and Mayor Brian Tierney said Council were happy to pay tribute to someone who had such a positive legacy in the city.
“I am truly honoured both as Mayor of this city and district and as a lifelong Derry City fan to attend the official unveiling of the mural of Mark which now forms part of the Mark Farren Stand.
“We know that Mark’s story and his legacy will be spoken about for many years to come, and we hope that this mural will be a fitting tribute to the role that he played in the football history of Derry and celebrate the joy that he gave to so many football fans here in the city.
“Mark’s family continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of us all.”
Philip O’Doherty, Derry City FC Chairman, added: “Mark will always be a huge part of the history of Derry City Football Club, and we are happy to join Council in celebrating his life.
“Mark was more than just a player here. He has left a real legacy at the club and it is fitting that his image will greet the players every time they take the field.
“We are delighted that Council have also kept Mark’s memory alive both with the stand named after him, and this fantastic mural.”