Dehenna Davison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, was in attendance, along with Mark O’Donnell, Deputy Secretary for Department for Communities (DfC).
The scheme has received £1.66m from the Levelling Up Fund, while DfC contributed £1.42m. Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council provided a further £0.4m. It is set to be the first Levelling Up Fund project to be completed in Northern Ireland.
The regeneration coincides with the centenary of the town’s first Recreation Grounds.
Due to fully open to the public in the coming weeks, the site offers a range of outdoor recreational facilities with a rejuvenated public realm, bowling green, synthetic bowling training area and modern pavilion building complete with a ‘Changing Places’ facility. The open space features inclusive cycle pathways, a low level urban sports plaza, and an adventure style play park, along with designated disabled parking.
Welcoming the regeneration, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Ivor Wallace said: “We are extremely proud to be the custodians of the first Levelling Up Fund scheme in Northern Ireland to reach this stage. The project is a fantastic reflection of the ethos of the fund, addressing local needs and contributing to renewed growth and prosperity.
“The town enjoyed significant investment ahead of The Open in 2019, and now the Recreation Grounds complement this standard. With the return of The Open in 2025, Council recognised the importance of building on previous progress, and this project will help to put Portrush in the best possible position for the future.
“This site has always had huge potential, and we are very pleased to have capitalised on this to create a modern outdoor area which will meet the needs of the local community and significant visitor population as well.”
During the visit to Portrush Levelling Up Minister, Dehenna Davison, said: “It is fantastic to see these historic grounds get a revamp that will make the people of Portrush proud. It is, once again, an amazing asset for residents and visitors to enjoy.
“I am very pleased that the UK Government has been able to collaborate so successfully with the local council and the Department for Communities in completing this first
Levelling Up project in Northern Ireland.
“The UK Government has now allocated £121 million in levelling up funding for projects across Northern Ireland, and I am pleased to be able to confirm that further funding
from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be awarded to NI projects shortly.”
Mark O’Donnell from the Department for Communities said: “It’s great to see how this area has been totally transformed over the past year. Today it is a vibrant and welcoming place that offers a range of recreation activities for people of all ages and abilities.
“Regeneration is a collaborative effort, involving government at all levels, stakeholders and, most importantly, the community itself. This investment by the Department for Communities complements extensive regeneration work prior to the 2019 Open and ensures Portrush continues to be a place where people want to work, visit and live.”