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October - The Ards Advertiser

Killinchy Community Park (L-R): Bill Megraw (LAG Vice-Chair); DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA; Harry Harvey MLA; Councillor Joe Boyle (LAG Chair); Deputy Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Robert Adair. Image: Graham Baalham-Curry.

The communities of Ards and North Down will have access to vastly improved services following a £900,000 investment from DAERA’s Rural Development Programme, Minister Edwin Poots has announced.

The Minister was speaking as he visited a number of projects in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area that benefited from funding of over £900,000 from the LEADER NI Rural Development Programme.

The Minister began his visit in Ballygowan Village Hall, which has been substantially renovated and upgraded through a £181,000 award from the Village Renewal Scheme.

He then travelled to Beechvale Nursing Home in Killinchy which received a contribution of £90,000 from the Business Investment Scheme towards a £600,000 scheme to provide 11 new en-suite bedrooms and a day room. Eleven new jobs have been created as a result of this investment.

Minister Poots’ final stop was to view the results of a £430,000 redevelopment of Killinchy Community Park and a £200,000 refurbishment of the Killinchy Community and Enterprise Hub. The community park includes outdoor gym equipment, a new adventure play area, a new play area with seating, fencing and hedging, dog agility park, nature area including seating and picnic benches, a wildflower meadow and native planting, an informal kickabout space with improved drainage and installation of a pump track.

The Community Enterprise Hub features a new two-storey building with a museum on the bottom floor and rentable community space on the top floor which will be used for a range of activities including after schools provision. It is hoped that one new job will be created through this project, which received a grant of £200,000 from the Basic Services Scheme and a further £70,000 from the Ulster Scots Agency.

Welcoming the overall investment in the schemes, Minster Poots said, “The schemes I visited today represent an investment of over £900,000 from DAERA which, coupled with other funds that have been levered in, brings the total to almost £1.5m. These schemes have helped create employment, sustain groups and provide enhanced community facilities and services for the residents, both young and old, of Ards and North Down."

Minister Poots concluded: “I am delighted that despite the many recent challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis these projects have been completed. I want to thank all those involved for all their hard work and dedication in bringing these to fruition.”


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