Work Begins On West Belfast Shared Space

Work is underway at the site of a £5 million park project in west Belfast.

The transformational Stewartstown Road facility will be a shared space for residents and visitors when it reaches completion next spring.

It will include a play park, teen space, pump track, event space, environmental learning zone and wetland habitat.

Belfast political representatives attended the official sod turning ceremony on Thursday 05 March as the work got underway.

It's hoped the high quality contemporary shared space will improve connectivity across the whole Colin area.

Local representatives say it will boost community engagement in the area with park runs, local events and activities for all ages.

Junior Minister Declan Kearney said: "This £5 million investment under The Executive Office's Urban Villages Initiative will incorporate a play area for younger children, an event space, a nature education area and a youth zone.

"There is a diverse local community ready and waiting to enjoy this fantastic new park, which will be a safe, shared space - a place for everyone to enjoy."

The shared, welcoming space will foster cooperation among different sides of the community, according to Junior Minister Gordon Lynons, who joined Mr Kearney and Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Daniel Baker at the ceremony.

Also in attendance were school pupils and residents, as well as Syrian families who have recently moved into the area and groups from the EastSide Urban Village who have been participating in cross-city projects with organisations in the Colin area.

"This new park provides an opportunity to build on and develop new friendships with people from all backgrounds through a range of diverse and inclusive activities, bringing people together locally, across Belfast and further afield, in this new quality park environment," Minister Lyons said.

"This ambitious project reflects a confidence and desire to look ahead. It is about moving forward positively and overcoming the differences of the past."

The project is being delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council on land transferred to the local authority by the Department for Communities.

The 'Leap of Faith' sculpture - developed in 2010 by the local community in partnership with schoolchildren reflecting the aspirational leap from adolescence into adulthood - will be relocated to become a prominent feature at the entrance of the new park.

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