DUP MLA William Hay says the provision of £179k in funding for the refurbishment of the Tullyally community Centre will provide a major boost for the wider Altnagelvin area.
“We’ve been working with the Department of Social Development (DSD) for a year or more now to convince them of the importance of bringing this community centre into use,” said Mr Hay.
“This is good news for the people of Tullyally and the wider area. It has taken us some time to bring all the various groups together and get to this stage.
“The important thing now is to work with DSD and Derry City Council to make sure the complex opens for the use of the people of the area sooner rather than later,” he added.
The project aims to restore the Tullyally Community Centre to a condition where community services can be delivered in a modern and fit for purpose building.
The pathway and green spaces surrounding the building will also be improved with work to the paved areas and planting to create a welcoming aspect for local people using the Community Centre.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: “The refurbishment of the Tullyally Community Centre and surrounding area will stimulate and support much needed community, social and economic renewal.
“A wide range of services and activities for local residents and the surrounding area will be developed and will include accredited further education, youth intervention programmes a youth club and volunteering programmes which will tackle issues such as health, education and training thereby building community capacity and cohesion.”
He added: “The regeneration of this centre will be a testimony to the Neighbourhood Renewal process, investing in high quality infrastructure in response to the needs of local people and importantly delivering facilities on the ground. This is a great example of partnership working between the Department and the Local Government.”
Mr Hay also made reference to the collapse of the Tullyally and District Development Group Ltd. over two years ago, which created a vacuum in community provision.
A survey of Tullyally residents undertaken in the first half of 2012 found the collapse led to an “exponential growth in anti-social behaviour” and “pronounced drug problem” in one of the most deprived Protestant estates in Northern Ireland.
According to the community survey residents were largely in agreement that the closure of the community centre was having a detrimental effect.
Speaking in the wake of the fresh cash boost Mr Hay said it was up to all concerned to put appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure there is no repeat.
The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy ‘People and Place’ was published in June 2003 to close the gap between the quality of life for people in the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of society. Tullyally is one of the top 10 per cent most deprived areas in Northern Ireland.