Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has officially opened a Community Park and Sports Zone that has transformed a strip of land, known locally as the Back Path, to a more welcoming and safer space.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“I am delighted that the funding from my Department has delivered the new park and sports zone here at the Back Path for everyone to enjoy. It has totally transformed this area and is a major community asset that local people can be proud of. The delivery of this scheme proves how working in partnership with the local community can deliver physical, economic and social regeneration to this previously run down area.”
“This transformation will bring considerable benefits through increased positive activity and well-being across all age groups making this a safer, more welcoming area.”
The scheme was delivered following a £951k investment by the Department for Communities, through the Building Successful Communities (BSC) initiative.
The Back Path, which was run down and in decline, has now been renovated with sport and leisure facilities including a running track, gym and Multi-use Games Area (MUGA). There is also play equipment, a seating area and a community garden. An improved access ramp to the nearby Westlink footbridge has also been encompassed as part of the scheme.
On completion of the scheme, the Department handed ownership of the park to Belfast City Council (BCC).
Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl said:
“This once derelict site has been completely transformed. It’s a wonderful addition to the city, offering a wide range of amenities that people of all ages and abilities within the local area can enjoy. It’s a shining example of what can be done to inject life into abandoned spaces in the city.”
Notes to editors:
- Photo caption: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has officially opened a Community Park and Sports Zone that has transformed a strip of land in Belfast, known locally as the Back Path, to a more welcoming and safer space. The scheme was delivered following a £951k investment by the Department for Communities and includes a running track, gym, Multi-use Games Area (MUGA), play equipment and a community garden. An improved access ramp to the nearby Westlink footbridge has also been encompassed as part of the scheme. The Minister is pictured with Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Kate Nicholl.
- The Building Successful Communities (BSC) Programme works collaboratively across government, with the Housing Executive, Housing Associations, statutory bodies and local communities to improve housing and infrastructure and targets ways to bring physical, economic and social regeneration to the area.
- The Lower Falls area is one of six pilot areas that have been selected by the Department to be offered intervention under the Building Successful Communities (BSC) Programme, 5 areas in Belfast and 1 in Ballymena.
- A Regeneration Forum has been established in each of the pilot areas which is comprised of statutory organisations, local community and elected political representatives. The Lower Falls Forum identified the transformation of this strip of land to the Community Park and Sports Zone as a priority for the area.
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