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Derry City & Strabane

New Exhibition Explores Life on the Border

Theresa Stewart

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.

David Young

“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.

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Derry City & Strabane

Work Gets Underway on Eglinton Playpark

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke cutting the first sod as construction gets underway on the upgrade at Eglinton Play Park. Included from left are David Mullan, AMS, main contractors, Councillor Rachel Ferguson, Emma Quinn, DAERA, main funders, Debbie Caulfield, manager, Community Hall, Eglinton, Karen Kirkegaard, project manager, Allan Bogle, DCSDC and Paul Kelly, Park Ranger, DCSDC. Photo Credit: Jim McCafferty Photography

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.”

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Derry City & Strabane

Work Life Balanced Campaign Launched by Invest Derry City & Strabane

Invest Derry City & Strabane has recently launched the Work Life Balanced campaign in association with Version 1, aimed at promoting the North West as a premium remote working destination for businesses while attracting highly skilled talent to the local area.

A region boasting vibrant culture, stunning coastlines, immaculate rural scenery, and a growing and dynamic economy, the North West provi​des the ultimate work life balance in a new remote working era. A fantastic place to live, the area has everything needed to pursue an exciting career while also focusing on raising a family.

The list of benefits to remote working is extensive, and arguably the most valuable to be gained of these is time. With commutes no longer needed, an increase in flexibility allows more time to be spent with family, but it also provides an opportunity to increase productivity.

IT services company Version 1, which employs over 1,500 staff across the world, has already committed to bringing new roles to Derry-Londonderry and the wider North West. The jobs on offer include traditional Software Development, Business Analysts and QA Consultants through to more senior roles in Cloud Computing, Data Science and Delivery Practice Leads.

Alderman Graham Warke, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “It is fantastic to see Version 1 bringing these opportunities to the North West, which we already know is an area full of potential and talented individuals.

“The COVID-19 pandemic proved that highly skilled jobs do not need to be in one fixed city, with so many successfully carrying out their work from home. If more companies decide to follow in Version 1’s footsteps, we will be in a position to keep more of our talent pool here while also creating an attractive location for others to live and work in the North West.”

The company has also been named a ‘Great Place to Work’ in both the UK and Ireland, ranking 16th in the UK last year and 9th in Ireland.

Scott Mitchell, Delivery Manager at Version 1, said: “Having started working for Version 1 in Belfast over three years ago, my family and I decided to move back to Derry during lockdown. The company fully supported this decision and provided project work and equipment to make the move as straightforward as possible.

“The work life balance is fantastic. I can spend time with the kids, walk the dogs, and find time to relax, all while doing my job to the best of my ability in a comfortable environment. It’s fantastic to see Version 1 giving many more talented people in the North West the opportunity to secure highly skilled work while remaining at home.”

Rosalind Young, Investment Manager, Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “The Derry and Strabane area is a first-class place to work remotely for a number of reasons, including the exceptional broadband on offer. Additionally, salaries go that bit further thanks to the general cost of living, and the ease of access to green spaces contributes positively to our wellbeing.

“The city region is experiencing exciting developments in recent times. We are witnessing a huge growth in ICT and FinTech, which is a vote of confidence in the talent of our local workforce and our capabilities.

“There are lots of opportunities for a fantastic career here, so hopefully we see a substantial number of talented individuals electing to fulfil their professional ambitions in the North West.”

For more information on the Version 1 roles available in the North West and to apply, visit the Invest DS jobs portal on the website at www.investderrystrabane.com/worklife

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