Work has now been completed on the Donemana Village Renewal Project which included a new and improved outdoor space in the village.
The work carried out has seen the installation of an outdoor garden with seating, raised beds, and planting as well as a small kickabout area with artificial grass and a goal wall including a basketball hoop. It also includes new steps to improve access to the outside area.
It was the fourth and final of a series of Small Parks Village Renewal Projects carried out by Derry City and Strabane District Council, with other projects completed in Artigarvan, Ardstraw and Drumahoe.
In Artigarvan and Ardstraw there were upgrades to play areas, with new equipment for each including a wheelchair accessible ground flush roundabout, basket swing and zip line, as well as landscaping improvements, while, in Drumahoe, an improved access pathway, adult exercise equipment, landscaping and signage was installed.
The combined cost of the four projects was £200,000 and they were delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from funding allocated by Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership 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.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, who is also the Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership (LAG), said the completion of the project is fantastic news for Donemana and for the Drummond Centre Project after some challenging years.
“I’m absolutely delighted to visit Donemana and to see this work first-hand which provides a great space for the Drummond Centre Project and the Donemana community to enjoy.
“The green space ties in with our Council commitment within the Green Infrastructure Plan, and the recreational facilities are a space for young people to get some exercise in while socialising with friends.
“Facilities like this are so important for our rural communities and following the flooding of the original Drummond Centre Project’s premises in 2017 this is certainly a massive and well-deserved step forward for them.
“As Mayor and as Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership it is my pleasure to attend the official opening of these new facilities and I want to wish the Drummond Centre Project and everyone in Donemana well as they enjoy this wonderful space.”
David Buchanan, The Drummond Centre, added: “This is a great day for everyone here in Donemana and for ourselves at The Drummond Centre Project.
“We have experienced a lot of ups and downs over the past few years so to have this facility now complete is a very positive achievement. It’s a space that we know will be so deeply appreciated and well-used by our young people and by everyone within the village.”
Work Gets Underway on Eglinton Playpark
Work is underway on major upgrades for Eglinton playpark that will include environmental changes and a diverse range of new equipment.
Contractors AMS Limited are now on site and have started the upgrades which will see the installation of many new features, including a wheelchair accessible multi-unit with different levels, towers, sensory panels, slides and climbing nets, a ground flush roundabout, ground flush trampoline, a selection of swings for different ages and abilities including a pendulum swing and a zip line (especially catering for older children).
There will be a toddler area with a mini multi-unit, toddler swings and springers opening up the facility for families with younger children.
The playpark will also have new tree planting, seating and picnic benches to provide quieter areas to play and socialise.
The project is being delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from funding allocated by the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union.
In March it was announced that funding of £318,000 has been supplied to complete the work, with £213,000 provided by DAERA, £75,000 from Council and £30,000 allocated through the Department for Communities’ Regional Access and Inclusion Capital Grant Programme, facilitated by DCSDC’s Access and Inclusion Project which aims to promote inclusion and accessibility to active recreation venues.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said work commencing is a welcome step forward.
“It’s great to see this work get underway and I’m sure it is very welcome news for the children and families in Eglinton.
“The plans for the upgrades are very exciting and, once complete, will provide a safe space for children where they can go and have fun, exercise and enjoy some fresh air.
“There is a wide range of equipment being installed that will cater to children of different ages and abilities, and the green spaces and new trees are also in line with Council’s Green Infrastructure Plan which focuses on utilising natural spaces to provide environmental, economic and social benefits.
“As a Council, addressing play provision in rural areas is a significant part of our play plan moving forward and this work is a symbol of that commitment.”
He continued: “Additionally, in my role as Chair of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership (LAG), I recognise playparks such as these are vital for our rural communities, and this space is a significant one within the village – one where children and parents can meet, and which helps develop community relations.
“The LAG are looking forward to seeing this work completed in the near future to the benefit of everyone in Eglinton and the surrounding areas.”
DAERA’s Director of Rural Affairs Paul Donnelly said, “I am delighted that this investment, which the department funded, will result in enhanced play facilities for children and will improve the standard and quality of recreational infrastructure for the residents of Eglinton area. I congratulate Derry Strabane Rural Partnership Local Action Group for all their work delivering against their rural strategy for the benefit of rural communities in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.”
Debbie Caulfield, Eglinton Community Association, added: “Actually seeing the contractors on site and the work getting underway has been really exciting for everyone in Eglinton – both children and adults alike!
“This space will make such a difference within the village and for those in the surrounding rural areas and we are all waiting in anticipation to see it finished.”
New Exhibition Explores Life on the Border
A new exhibition titled Borderlands will open at the Alley Theatre on Monday 26th July exploring a realistic, refreshing and relatable insight into life on the border in modern times.
It will feature 22 participants from all walks of life who are living on the border between the Derry City and Strabane District Council area and County Donegal. Through interviews with each of the participants, the exhibition highlights how crossing the border daily impacts our lives financially, socially and culturally, whilst also referring to its historical significance and foundation.
The interviews, recorded by Holywell Trust, will be archived for posterity at a significant moment in time, on the centenary of the creation of the border and during the uncharted territory that has followed Brexit.
Ronan Mc Connell, from Council’s Museum and Heritage Service, said the exhibition is a fantastic chance to see the border from many different viewpoints and experiences, both past and present.
“This is a great opportunity to capture the voices of those who have experienced the border in a variety of forms, from the early customs posts to the checkpoints during the Troubles to the invisible border following the Good Friday Agreement,” he said. “It has been 100 years since the creation of the border and this exhibition will provide a fair platform for people to voice their opinions and increase understanding amongst each other.
“By archiving these experiences now, future generations will have the chance to reflect on how life around the border has evolved, and how it may continue to evolve.”
As part of his interview for the Borderlands exhibition, David Young, one of the participants, said: “My father’s own shop was bombed five or six times. It was a fairly easy target as the road down the front of it came from the border and the road at the back went to a different part of the border.
“My father sort of developed a siege mentality. We would never have thought of crossing the border in those days. When I was a teenager, you would never have dreamt about going anywhere across the border.”
Meanwhile, another participant, Theresa Stewart, said: “I think it will make relationships more strained definitely if there was a physical structure put back in place, then you’ve got another generation of young people and children growing up who are going to have to be subjected to the same as what I was subjected, say 30 odd years ago, which can have a negative impact on them and when they’re growing up.”
The exhibition runs in the Alley Theatre from the July 26th until August 16th.
The thoughts, opinions and local linguistic expressions in this exhibition belong to the participants who live in the local area and who travel across the border regularly.
The exhibition was funded by The Executive Office’s Together Building A United Community (T:BUC) Strategy, through the District Council’s Good Relations Fund.