Multi-Million Pound Cross Community Park Officially Opens
28 September 2015
Ava McCord from Glengormley Integrated Primary is joined by Gulliver at the official opening of ‘V36’. Situated beside Antrim & Newtownabbey Council’s Valley Leisure Centre, V36 received £3.58m EU PEACE III funding & has transformed an area of under-used open space into an iconic new shared facility, with a unique Gulliver’s Travels themed adventure play area.
An exciting new state-of-the-art facility was launched this week, as the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Councillor Thomas Hogg, officially opens ‘V36’.
Situated beside the Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey and named after the postcode of the area, the ‘V36’ project received £3.58m EU PEACE III funding and has transformed an area of contested, under-used open space into an iconic new shared facility.
A floodlit 3G pitch suitable for football, rugby and Gaelic sports has been created, in addition to a civic linear park with a performance area for events and a unique ‘Gulliver’s Travels’- themed adventure play area for families.
The park also includes areas of open space, paths, public art displays and a picnic area. These new attractions will complement the existing leisure and play facilities currently on offer at the Valley Leisure Centre.
Speaking at the launch, the Mayor commented:
“This wonderful new shared space provides an opportunity for local people and visitors from all backgrounds to come together through sport, recreation and arts-based activities. Set in the backdrop of the stunning Cave Hill and with views of Belfast Lough, this site has been totally transformed into an area that can be enjoyed by all. After consultation with local communities, sports clubs, community groups, schools and residents, work started in November last year. It is due to the shared vision and drive of many that we are standing here today.”
Welcoming the launch of the new facility, Finance Minister Arlene Foster MLA, said: “The aims of the PEACE III Programme, to promote cooperation and reconciliation, have been achieved in the development and realisation of this new shared facility. The new park offers an opportunity for the local community, in Newtownabbey and across North Belfast, to come together in a shared space to enjoy sports, events and play. The ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ adventure play area echoes one of the themes, in Jonathan Swift’s first books, of sharing the space in which we live and by children playing together we can improve community relations and build towards a shared society.”
Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive (Designate) of the Special EU Programmes Body which manages the PEACE III Programme said:
“Creating shared public spaces is a key focus of the PEACE III Programme, and we are delighted that, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has successfully delivered ‘V36’, which, by working in close consultation with the local community, has reclaimed what was previously contested space for the purposes of building positive relationships within the local area.”
“In addition to the shared sports facilities, ‘V36’ will bring a range of long-term benefits, enhancing reconciliation through bringing people together at events, creating better levels of health and well-being, increasing confidence and becoming a source of pride for the community”, she continued.
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in Ireland.
Alan Kelly T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government added:
“It gives me great pleasure to see the opening of this marvellous facility, achieved with the help of funding through the PEACE III EU co-funded Programme for Peace and Reconciliation. It is wonderful to be involved in such developments as a co-funder of the Programme. I would like to congratulate Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, working in conjunction with the local community, on the success of this project, which I am positive will be enjoyed by all long into the future with a sense of pride and unity.”
For more information or to book the ‘V36’ event space or 3G pitch, contact the Valley Leisure Centre Tel: 028 9086 1211