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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.”

Derry City & Strabane

Business and Culture Committee Receives Update on Christmas Plans

Members of Council’s Business and Culture committee were presented with an update on plans for the Christmas programme within the district at their September meeting on Tuesday.

Presenting the report, Council’s Head of Culture, Aeidin McCarter, explained that the Christmas programme would begin on November 20th and continue into December, focusing on key weekends throughout this period.

Members heard that the programming will focus on bringing communities together, creating the space for shared inclusive celebration around the Christmas period and that all programming would be carried out in line with Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.

It was explained that Christmas lights switch ons will take place in Strabane on Saturday 20th November and in Derry on Sunday 21st November. Members were told that following last year’s virtual switch ons, this year it was proposed that the event return to an outdoor event format using different streets in the city and town centres to allow for social distancing.

Aeidin McCarter said, “We are planning a ‘Santa’s Switch On Procession’ which will consist of festive characters, NI Fire and Rescue Service, Panto Characters and beautiful bespoke Christmas themed mobile installations.

“Members of the public attending the Switch On event will be able to view Santa switching on the Christmas lights from a series of city and town centre streets which will allow for the maximum number of people to safely line the routes.”

She added that Business and Culture officers are working closely with the Council’s Environment Directorate to ensure that the various Christmas lighting schemes are complemented by a mix of events and activities to ensure an enriched overall visitor and shopper experience.

Members were also informed that work was ongoing around the Christmas Markets and a further update would be provided on the proposed details and dates at next month’s committee meeting.

Due to the continued indoor restrictions with regards to Covid-19, members were told that the possibility of hosting the Guildhall Craft Fair is unlikely, but that the festive marketing campaign would centre around ‘shop & gift local’, ‘support local’ and ‘your small spend makes a giant difference’ messaging themes to support local businesses and traders.

As part of the update, members also heard that the Council’s Events team are continuing to work closely with the Mayor’s Office on a series of activities that will enable the Mayor to bring Festive fun to communities in the Derry City and Strabane District.

Members voted to approve the overall budget of £80,000, with a further update to come before committee in October.

Business and Culture chair, Cllr Conor Heaney, welcomed the report and thanked Council officers for their work on the programme to date, adding that the festive period is always a positive and exciting time for local people and businesses and that the proposed programme will add to that excitement.

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Derry City & Strabane

Mayor to Host ‘Supercar Sunday’ for Charity

The Mayor, Graham Warke pictured at Guildhall Square on Saturday with Christopher Cooper, manager, FDST and staff Grainne Dunne, Megan Crossan and Aine Barrett. 'The Mayor's Supercar Sunday' will take place on 3rd October in aid of the Mayor's charity, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust. The event will include Lamborghinis, Corvettes, Mustangs and MacLarens on display in the city centre.

If you’re a fan of all things cars, there will only be one place to be next month as Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, hosts ‘The Mayor’s Supercar Sunday’ which will see a range of the world’s most exciting supercars on display in the city centre.

The event will take place on Sunday 3rd October when car enthusiasts Gary McCaul and Keith Gamble will bring up to 15 cars that will include supercars such as Lamborghinis, Ferrari and McLarens together with American Muscle cars such as Corvette and the Fo​rd Mustang to Guildhall Square and Harbour Square for the public to get up close and personal with these incredible machines.

Mayor Warke is hosting the special event to raise funds for his Mayor’s charity, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, and attendees will be invited on the day to donate to the charity, which supports and empowers children and young people with Down syndrome from birth to adulthood.

“I’m really looking forward to this event at the start of October and having got a sneak peek of some of the cars that will be on display I can safely say this is something not to be missed,” said the Mayor.

“We’ve all seen the Lamborghinis and Mustangs on TV and in films, but this is an opportunity to get a close-up look at these magnificent cars.

“I can guarantee that it will be fun for all the family. It’s not often that you get to see so many of these supercars all in one spot, so make sure you call down on Sunday 3rd October and have a look.

“This is all in aid of my chosen Mayor’s charity, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, who do fantastic work in this city and district. All donations will be hugely appreciated, and all proceeds collected on the day will go directly to helping FDST.”

‘The Mayor’s Supercar Sunday’ will take place on Sunday 3rd October from 12pm to 4pm in Guildhall Square and Harbour Square. Donations can be made on the day to Foyle Down Syndrome Trust or you can donate online.

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