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Derry City & Strabane

Council launches its Draft 15 year Play Plan

Holly McNeil explores the tunnel.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has today launched a draft strategy on play provision within the District area following extensive community engagement with local children, parents and groups.

The 15 year Play Plan, led by consultants at Playboard NI, establishes an ambitious strategic approach to the enhancement of play opportunities across the District and to assist the Council in achieving the goals and ambitions, it is seeking the views of the public and encouraging the wider public to take part in the consultation process.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke said play provision across the Council area remains one of the most important issues to residents and families.

“The investment by Council to date in play and community facilities across the district has been significant and this Draft Strategy is a working document that looks to prioritise our ambitious capital and regeneration plans that set out in the Strategic Growth Plan by agreeing on a  clear and structured play plan for the next 15 years which is contingent on securing funding.”

Play Development Officer Helen Turton said: “Play is central to the lives of children and young people, contributing to the development of essential skills that support social, intellectual, physical and emotional well-being, providing a means of connecting with the wider community and critically, opportunities for fun and enjoyment. This draft strategy is an important milestone in allowing us to move to the next stage of development to allow us to deliver on key play provision facilities across the Council area.”

Helen added that the Council remains committed to fulfilling the child’s right to play as enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the development of this 15 year Play Plan represents a key component of this commitment.

She concluded: “In putting together the Play Plan, a number of key activities have been undertaken including an assessment of the Play Value associated with all 84 fixed play areas within the Council, an analysis of underlying demographic need and settlement patterns using Geographical Information System (GIS) software to determine fixed play coverage levels, identification of gaps in provision and redundant play areas.

“We have also undertaken extensive community engagement on the issue of play and play provision through online surveys and Local Growth Area (LGA) focus groups and we hope that the recommendations will support the enhancement of play opportunities across the Council area. We are really keen to hear the views of local people on the Play Plan and urge people to read it and give their feedback by visiting: “

Derry City & Strabane

Don’t Miss a Thing with New Derry Halloween App

With the countdown officially on ahead of another spooky and spectacular Halloween, the public are being encouraged to download the free Derry Halloween app to keep up to date on all the ghostly activities.

Derry City and Strabane District Council have been working closely with partner agencies to put together an exciting programme that will span across Derry, Strabane and Donegal.

Whether you want to find out more on the Spirit Worlds, the fireworks shows, the Strabane Hay Trail, Little Horrors, or anything else taking place – the Derry Halloween section of the Whats On Derry Strabane app is a one-stop-stop for everything you need to know.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, encouraged everyone to download the app to make sure you don’t miss out on the haunted happenings.

“I’m delighted that we have the Derry Halloween app this year which will be a fantastic tool for everyone planning to be part of the Halloween activities.

“The app will be the perfect place to stay updated on everything that will be taking place across the city, district, and Donegal.

“Everything has been planned with public health and safety in mind so please follow the advice and ensure you spread your visits out across the whole Halloween weekend, wrap up warm and keep your distance from others.

He continued: “I know I am really looking forward to this year’s programme and to having Halloween back in our city and district, so get the Derry Halloween app downloaded and start your planning now!”

Derry Halloween is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism Northern Ireland, the Executive Office, Translink, Donegal County Council and the North West Development Fund.

To download the app, visit your Google Play or i0S app store and search for ‘What’s On Derry Strabane’

You can find out more about the full programme on

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Derry City & Strabane

The Lost World to Take Over Strabane this Halloween

There will be lots of strange and spooky sights in Strabane town centre on Halloween weekend as The Lost World takes over.

On Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October from 1pm to 5pm you better keep your eyes peeled as you may discover some strange unwanted characters lurking that have got lost on their way to the Awakening in Derry and have come through the wrong portal, landing in Strabane. There will be an interactive animation trail, starting at the Alley Theatre, and if you​ follow along you may meet some interesting individuals along the way.

Look out for the ‘Wayward Witch’ who can tell you all about the characters lost in Strabane and how to gather them up before it’s too late.

There are six characters to find including ‘The White Lady of the Bann’ who has a special riddle to solve before she casts her spell on the town.

See if you can spot the fastest ghost ever – ‘The Tullymoan Ghost’ – and help him evade the grasp of his arch enemy ‘The Soul Catcher’.

Outside McColgan’s you might see Mrs Lovett trying to sell her famous pies, made from people! Shifty barber Sweeney Todd is helping her look for her next victim, but if you can solve the riddle hidden in their song/monologue, then they will soon be sent back to the Awakening in Derry.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for Half Hung Mc Naughton outside Harley’s. Listen to his story and don’t forget to catch his riddle at the end.

Along the way you’ll also spot some amazing dinosaurs including ‘Gorm’ the 25-foot-long Triceratops, ‘Jay’ the 15-year-old T-Rex, ‘Echo’ – the youngest of the Velociraptors, ‘Baby Blue’ who is the eldest of the ‘Raptors and daughter of a very famous movie star named Blue, ‘Sastá’ the gentle and caring herbivore, and the feisty ‘Baby Roxy’ – stay away as he does bite! There will also be a special dino mobile museum packed with real skulls, teeth, claws and much more. 

If that wasn’t enough, make sure you’re in Abercorn Square on Saturday 30th October at 1.30pm to catch the frighteningly fantastic SPARK LED Drummers. Back by popular demand, this is street theatre at its finest with a magical live music movement and spectacular lighting performance.

There will also be live music, a food quarter, arts and crafts, and street performers and live shows, so don’t miss out!

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, encouraged everyone to pay a visit on Halloween weekend.

“It will be spooky Strabane next weekend as the town centre is overtaken by The Lost World. You just don’t know what ghastly and ghoulish sights you might see!

“It’s also fantastic to have SPARK back. It’s a very special show and certainly one that’s not to be missed.

“With the dinosaurs also making their way through the town, there’s guaranteed to be a fantastic Halloween atmosphere, so I’d really encourage all families to get themselves into Strabane to enjoy the vast Halloween activities that we have planned.”

You can find out more about the full programme on

Derry Halloween is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism Northern Ireland, the Executive Office, Translink, Donegal County Council and the North West Development Fund.

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