Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey has met with representatives of the Belfast Islamic Centre as work gets underway on the development of a new Islamic Cultural Centre.
Officials in the Department have been working with Belfast Islamic Centre and Belfast City Council on a £1.676m redevelopment of the building at Aldersgate House, University Road – replacing current premises in Wellington Park.
During a visit to the site in south Belfast, Minister Hargey said:
"The Belfast Islamic Centre delivers services and support right across the Muslim community, from young families and individuals to its elderly members. I am delighted that my Department has been able to commit £500,000 towards the cultural development elements of the new centre that will enable an expansion of its services to the community.
“When completed, Aldersgate House will create an iconic, fit for purpose centre for the Muslim community not only in south Belfast but further afield. It will also have a positive impact on the social, economic and physical regeneration of the area.”
The Department is contributing £500,000 towards the works. When completed in July 2023, the new centre will provide a modern dedicated space to support activities such as fitness classes, health and wellbeing programmes, parents and tots sessions, a youth club, language classes and a food bank. One floor will be fitted out as a prayer room which will be funded by Belfast Islamic Centre.
Thanking all the funders and supporters Dr Saleem Tareen, Trustee Chair, said:
“Belfast Islamic Centre is very pleased to announce the start of the refurbishment process of the new Islamic centre building on the University Road. This is a moment of immense joy for the Islamic community of Northern Ireland.
“With the community’s generous support over those years and with additional support from the Department for Communities (DfC) in the form of a £500K grant, we were able to kickstart the project. In particular, we are indebted to DfC for their funding and the confidence shown by the Communities Minster Deirdre Hargey in Belfast Islamic Centre to lead the project. We are also thankful to Belfast City Council for managing the refurbishment process. We are certain that once the building is operational next year, it will be a vibrant hub for the Muslim Community and will also present a positive picture of Belfast and Northern Ireland around the world as a tolerant multicultural society.”
Notes to editors:
- Photo captions: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured with Mohammed Arshed, Amtul Salam Khan, Shahena Arshed and Dr. Saleem Tareen from Belfast Islamic Centre at the site of its new premises at Aldersgate House, University Road. The Department provided £500,000 towards the redevelopment of the Islamic Cultural Centre which is due to be completed in July 2023.
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