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Mid Ulster

Mid Ulster Council Appoints New Chair & Deputy Chair

Chair, Cllr Paul McLean and Deputy Chair, Cllr Christine McFlynn

Mid Ulster District Council has appointed a new Chair and Deputy Chair.

Councillor Paul McLean (DUP) has been named Chair at the Council’s Annual General Meeting held yesterday evening (7 June), with Councillor Christine McFlynn (SDLP) now appointed as the new Deputy Chair.

Councillor McLean said:

“I consider it a great honour, privilege and pleasure to be appointed as Chair in this, the centenary year of Northern Ireland, a special and historic year which presents us with an opportunity to mark the past, acknowledge the present and look forward to the future”.

Councillor McLean also spoke of taking up his new role in a period of positivity and cautious optimism as pandemic restrictions ease and the vaccination programme continued to roll out successfully:

“The idea of positivity is one which I trust will characterise my time as Chair, and there is much to be positive about in the weeks and months to come, particularly as we complete, for example, a major capital investment programme in leisure and outdoor recreation facilities worth over £5.2M. These projects are transforming places like Roundlake in Fivemiletown, Ballyronan Marina and Davagh Forest to name three of the largest.

“Making a difference to the lives of local people is what we’re all about, after all, whether by ensuring they have great walks, parks, open spaces, pitches and play areas for people to enjoy; by ensuring that we’re supporting our local businesses with bespoke Covid recovery plans for our hardest-hit sectors or tailored business programmes to encourage innovation, build capacity, knowledge and skills; by ensuring that we respond to those who are in need by working to address those needs directly but crucially in partnership with other agencies, as well as with our voluntary and community sector.

New Deputy Chair, Councillor McFlynn, said:

“It is a privilege and an honour for me to accept the position of Deputy Chair and I am looking forward to working with our Chair and senior management team, to representing and supporting all our residents and businesses and to getting out and about right across our district”.

Referring to the challenges society had faced as a result of the pandemic, Councillor McFlynn also spoke of positivity and hope:

“As we come out of Covid and try to rebuild our district for the future, we have to have hope that the days ahead will be brighter and Mid Ulster Council will have its part to play in that, working to improve the lives of our residents and their well-being in the year to come”.

Both appointments are for one year.

Mid Ulster

Results of Maghera Leisure Enhancement Scheme Revealed

Refereeing the official opening of the extension to the Leisure Centre facilities in Maghera were the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots, MLA.

The results of the recently completed Maghera Leisure Centre enhancement scheme have been revealed today, as an inaugural exhibition match between representatives from the Northern Ireland Ladies and Mid Ulster Ladies footballs teams was the first game to be played on the new 3G pitch, a key element of the project.

Refereeing the official opening of the extension to the Leisure Centre facilities in Maghera were the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots, MLA.

The strategic scale project resulted in the construction of a brand new 3G pitch with floodlights; a trim trail and the upgrading of the existing play park at the complex with accessible and inclusive play apparatus. Work was also completed on the Crewe Road footpath as part of the scheme.

Councillor Paul McLean, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council said,

“It’s fantastic to see the enhancements made to recreational facilities here in Maghera, which improve the standard and quality of recreational opportunities for the residents of Maghera and its surrounding communities. Our goals with this development are to encourage greater engagement with sport, particularly for young people; to increase access to leisure for rural dwellers and develop grassroots amateur and professional sport; and to ensure inclusive play opportunities for all. We must thank the other team players in the project, DAERA for their significant funding support, and the Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership for assisting with delivery of the project.”

Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA said, “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic more people visited outdoor spaces for exercise and this trend has continued. As we continue on the pathway to recovery I am delighted to see the completion of these excellent outdoor facilities at Maghera Leisure Centre, which my Department has contributed £500,000 through the Rural Development Programme.

“The total £1M investment which has resulted in an excellent 3G pitch, an upgrade to the playpark, flood lighting and additional car parking will improve the standard and quality of the recreational infrastructure for the residents of Maghera and the surrounding communities. 

“Recreational activities are very important and play a large part in sustaining the health and well-being of communities. These facilities will provide current and future generations in Maghera with an excellent resource to enjoy in the weeks, months and years ahead.

“I congratulate the Mid Ulster LAG for all their work in developing and delivering against their rural strategy for the benefit of rural communities in the Mid Ulster area.”

Players from Northern Ireland Ladies International and Mid Ulster Ladies football teams put the new 3G pitch at Maghera Leisure Centre through its paces.

Chair of the Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership LAG, Conor Corr said,

“The Village Renewal Scheme is a central theme of our local rural development strategy and working in partnership we have managed to reach near every village across the district. To date we have allocated and approved over £3.6m in funding for these Village Renewal projects as part of our overall funding programme totalling £9.3m across Mid Ulster”.

“The LAG approved £500,000 in funding to this superb facility here in Maghera. This along with all of the funding approved under the Village Renewal Scheme has been vitally important in providing local, accessible and quality facilities in rural areas which helps strengthen the very nature of our rural community infrastructure”

Funding for this project was approved by Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership and part-funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union.

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Mid Ulster

New Chatty Bench Installed in Dungannon Park

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean is pictured on the first Chatty Bench to be installed in Mid Ulster, with (L-R), Doreen Bolton, Health and Well-being Locality Lead, Mid Ulster, NHSCT; Neil Gillan, Promoting Wellbeing Locality Manager – Armagh and Dungannon, SHSCT; and Sandra McKenna, Chair of the Mid Ulster Loneliness Network.

Mid Ulster Loneliness Network has placed its first ‘Chatty Bench’ in the Mid Ulster district, with the support of Mid Ulster District Council, marking the start of this year’s Loneliness Awareness Week (14 – 18 June).

Situated in the popular and picturesque surrounds of Dungannon Park, the special bench has been introduced to provide a place for people to come together to have a chat. Two other benches are also included in other sites within the park.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean welcomed the first chatty benches in the Mid Ulster district, saying:

“The restrictions of the past 18 months have exacerbated the experience of loneliness and isolation for many people. Some people may go days or even weeks without the simplest of human contact, so the installation of Chatty Benches here in Dungannon Park is a timely initiative as it seeks to break down that social barrier and allow us all to say hello.

“It is our hope that it will be a way of tackling loneliness by encouraging people who may be experiencing it to connect with others, and for others not experiencing loneliness to recognise that starting a welcomed conversation can bring so much to another person’s day.”

Sandra McKenna, Chair of the Mid Ulster Loneliness Network, said,

“As a volunteer for Agewell I witness increasing levels of loneliness on a daily basis. The Mid Ulster Loneliness Network members are totally committed to addressing this issue through many different initiatives. These are our first Chatty Benches to be installed, and we intend to place more in different towns throughout the district.” 

The project is also supported by both the Northern and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts Neil Gillan, Promoting Wellbeing Locality Manager – Armagh and Dungannon at the Southern Trust added his support for the new benches in Dungannon Park, saying:

“The Southern Trust recognises that loneliness and social isolation can affect anyone, irrespective of their age and stage of life.  We hope the Chatty Benches encourage conversation and makes it easier for people who feel alone to connect with other members of their local community.”

Yvonne Carson, Thematic Lead for Loneliness in the Northern Trust added

“Chatty Benches are designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community. We hope the Chatty Benches will be seen as a place for people to come together to chat and connect and be the first of many in the Mid Ulster district.”

Dungannon Park is a 70 acre oasis centred round an idyllic stream fed lake only 2 miles from Dungannon town centre.  The park is open from 8.30am – 9.30pm from now until October, when it moves to closing at 5.30pm for winter. Further information on Mid Ulster Loneliness Network can be obtained by emailing mulnetwork@northerntrust.hsni.net

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