Over £5m from the first tranche of the Social Investment Fund (SIF) poverty pot has been allocated to capital and current projects in Londonderry, it’s been revealed.
Another £4.5m will go to projects in the Western zone (equal to the health trust area) bringing the first allocation to almost £10m across the west.
Significantly, £1.75m of the initial £33m will go towards a capital investment in play facilities in Ballyarnett, Ballymagroarty and the Daisyfield.
The OFMDFM Ministers revealed £3.3m has also been allocated to a citywide revenue project aimed at “providing long term placements targeted upon those on the margins but especially the young long term unemployed.”
The Western zone also gets £4,415,000 for both capital and current projects this time round.
The only capital project announced in the west at this stage is the £865,000 refurbishment of Fermanagh House, which is a social enterprise in Enniskillen.
Two revenue projects, Work Ready West (WRW) and Surestart Plus, will also benefit, with grants of £2.2m and £1.35m respectively.
WRW will try to provide paid employment opportunities for 120 people.
Surestart Plus will try to support families through the transition from nursery to P1 and P2.
Announcing the awards First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I welcome this £33million investment in projects to deliver the SIF programme.
“An enormous amount of work has been done by Steering Groups to identify projects that will address the issues affecting the communities that are most in need in each area.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Through the Steering Groups local people have identified and prioritised the areas of need to ensure the maximum impact of the overall £80million SIF.
“This is only the start and I am confident this funding will enable groups to deliver real benefits for people on the ground. The funding will result in jobs, training and improved facilities for many of the hardest hit areas of our community.”
Almost two years ago the Sentinel reported how Londonderry and the western area were to be established as two of nine investment zones to benefit from the £80m fund to tackle deprivation and dereliction.
Eight members - both political and non-political - were appointed to a steering group founded to propose local projects that would be worthy of allocations.
The Londonderry steering group comprised Alison Wallace (Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership), Charles Lamberton (TRIAX/Neighbourhood Partnership Board), Darren Kirby (Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership), Noel McCartney (Community Restorative Justice), Ann Donnelly (SDLP), Drew Thompson (DUP), Paul Fleming (Sinn Féin) and Marion Quinn (SDLP).