Work is under way on the sites of two new Londonderry play parks in Kilfennan and Ballymagroarty.
The developments for the local community are jointly funded by the Social Investment Fund under the NI Executive’s Delivering Social Change framework, and the Council through its Parks Development Programme.
The projects, which are worth a combined total of £1.7m, are the result of a collaborative working relationship between Council, the Executive Office, the Caw / Nelson Drive Action Group and Ballymagroarty Community Association.
A spokesperson for the Executive Office added: “The Executive Office welcomes this latest progress on the Ballymagroarty and Kilfennan projects which will make a tangible difference to young people’s lives and help build a better, brighter and more prosperous future for them.
“This builds on the progress of the Ballyarnett and Brandywell projects which have contractors on site and which together form the Invest in Play project. This project is a good example of the positive changes that are possible when we work closely with local government and the local community to pool our ideas and resources.
“These projects empower local people and provide the entire community with a renewed sense of hope and purpose.”
Linda Watson, co-ordinator of the Caw/Nelson Drive Action Group said: “The group are delighted that their years of hard work and close relationship with Council and the Executive Office are now coming to fruition with the commencement of work at Kilfennan.
“Children can benefit significantly from playing together, it develops their social skills and helps keep them healthy and now the children in our local area can look forward to those benefits in the near future.”
Christy Daniels from the Ballymagroarty Community Association echoed those comments: “There is significant excitement in the Ballmagroarty area to see the start of work on this much anticipated project.”
Mayor Maoliosa McHugh said: “I am delighted and excited for the residents of Ballymagroarty, Kilfennan and the surrounding areas who can now look forward to state of the art play provision on their door step.”
“These projects are further evidence of Council’s commitment to provide a high level of accessible play provision for children across the City and District through the Invest in Play programme.
“When completed they will help promote social interaction and physical activity among our young people and offer a hub for families to come together and have fun in the outdoors.”
“We are an area of high deprivation and lack adequate community facilities so the play park will help fill that void for local families.
“The Community Association and other community ground have campaigned for years for this project so it is particularly pleasing for them to see their hopes for the area begin to become a reality.”
Noel Mc Cartney, Chair of the local SIF Steering Group, also welcomed the news: “I am delighted that work has formally commenced on the Ballymagroarty and Kilfennan Play Parks. With the Brandywell and Ballyarnett Play Parks nearly finished we are well on our way to completing the Play Element of the local SIF Action Plan.
“The Social Investment Fund will bring a total of £9.5m of investment to the most deprived areas of our city and I would like to acknowledge the role the late Martin Mc Guinness played in making this happen.”