16/08/2013

Shankill Receives New Sports Complexes

The Shankill area of Belfast has benefited from the allocation of two new sports complexes in the Hammer and Springmartin areas, following £770,000 in investments.

A new full-size 3G pitch and floodlit facility at the Hammer Complex is now open, following a £509,000 revamp.

The council has put £225,000 into the development, while the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, through Sport Northern Ireland, has invested £245,000.

The Northern Ireland Executive, through the Department for Social Development, contributed a further £39,000.

Councillor Gareth McKee, Chairman of the Parks and Leisure Committee, said: "Hammer is an important community asset and this extra investment means its facilities are the best available.

"We have funded it under our £150m Investment Programme, which is rolling out improvements across the city. The project has been completed on time and within budget, and we look forward to more of the same, as we begin work to transform a piece of waste ground in the Upper Shankill/Ballygomartin area into a dedicated sports facility."

Carál Ní Chuilín, Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, said: "The development of these facilities demonstrates how government departments and local councils can work together in partnership to improve opportunities for people to play, compete, watch and volunteer in sport. This is the way forward in providing facilities in areas of greatest social need that are accessible to everyone.

"Introducing the midnight soccer initiative into the community is an excellent and innovative example of how sport can be used to address social issues, and to provide positive experiences for young people in the communities where they are most needed."

The council has also pledged £150,000 towards the Springmartin development, adjacent to a play park at Black Mountain Parade.

The Northern Ireland Executive, through the Department for Social Development, is investing £111,000 in the new facility.

It will be leased to Springfield Star Football Club, who will manage the site.

Nelson McCausland, Minister for Social Development, said: "Including the contribution to the recently refurbished Woodvale Park, the Northern Ireland Executive, through my department, has now invested over £1m in the last year in sports and leisure facilities for the people of the greater Shankill. The creation of revitalised public spaces will allow local families, schools, community groups and the many sporting clubs in the area to take part in a range of sporting, leisure and play activities in safe, purpose-built environments."

(IT/CD)

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