Village Renewal: Glenarm and Ballygally in six-project showcase of £4m scheme

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Ballygally and Glenarm were among the communities to benefit from a £4m villge renewal scheme which is wrapping up after five years.

A total of 18 villages and 22 projects across Mid and East Antrim Council area saw investments that have helped improve facilities.

The Village Renewal Programme included play parks, community hubs, halls, outdoor spaces and gardens created, renovated and brought to life for future generations to enjoy.

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The outgoing Mayor, Councillor Peter Johnston visited a number of the projects on a tour across the borough.

Forrmer Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston, visited Glenarm where environmental enhancements include a new seating area, planting and pergola.Forrmer Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston, visited Glenarm where environmental enhancements include a new seating area, planting and pergola.
Forrmer Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston, visited Glenarm where environmental enhancements include a new seating area, planting and pergola.

He said: “I’ve been blown away by the sheer amount of wide ranging projects that have been delivered. From small community gardens to new play areas and even the provision of a sports pavilion.

“All of the projects provide huge benefits to our local communities and feedback has been tremendous. We want to thank all those involved for their hard work to get here, from community groups, the MEA LAG (Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group), contractors and of course the Executive.

“These projects are just one example of how the Rural Development Programme is working to leave a lasting legacy within our rural areas. This scheme will no doubt serve the local community well for many years to come and I look forward to seeing all the projects and spaces being put to good use.”

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One of the highlights along the tour of sites included Glenarm, where environmental enhancements at the foreshore feature a new granite seating area, planting and a pergola.

Ballygally also availed of environmental improvements.Ballygally also availed of environmental improvements.
Ballygally also availed of environmental improvements.

The former first citizen also saw a seafront project at Ballygally.

Kelli McRoberts, chair of MEA LAG, said: “£2.5 million of funding from DAERA has been allocated by MEA Local Action Group, enabling us to support more than 20 projects across Mid and East Antrim.

“It’s been great to visit some of these rural projects and be able to see first-hand the benefits that this funding has brought to these areas. It has improved a range of infrastructure from play parks to walking trails, enhancing our vibrant rural villages.

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“The Village Renewal Scheme has been hugely beneficial to our rural communities and we congratulate Council in bringing these important projects forward.”

Further initiatives showcased were:

A new play park at Tobar Park in Cullybackey with equipment for all abilities and a multi-use games area providing the perfect space for a kick about.

A new single storey sports pavilion at Kells & Connor with facilities including a number of changing rooms, toilet and baby change facilities, first aid room, tea point, meeting room and storage rooms. Additional car parking has been provided adjacent to the pavilion and pedestrian access from Station Road has been upgraded to improve accessibility.

In Glenravel, a new greenway has opened that runs from St Mary’s Queen of Peace Church, Martinstown, to Con Magee’s GAC outside Cargan.

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Gracehill sports a new walking route at God’s Acre which will celebrate the area’s strong heritage, enhancing what is already available in the village.

Alderman Audrey Wales, vice-chair of MEA LAG, said: “It’s fantastic to see these projects across the borough bring so many benefits to the local communities.

“It’s been years of hard work and dedication from all the partners, community groups, public bodies, builders and now finally we can begin to enjoy making precious memories for years to come.

“The LAG are delighted to have helped towards delivering these invaluable assets and look forward to seeing them add value to their local areas.”

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£2.5m funding was secured from the Village Renewal Programme, managed by MEA LAG, funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union.

Click here to read: New community garden opens in Ballystrudder


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