Foster and O’Neill announce £1.7m investment for new arts and culture centre in the Fountain
05 November 2020
First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have announced an investment of £1.7million in a new arts and cultural project in the Derry-Londonderry Urban Village area.
The Ministers have revealed plans from the Executive’s Urban Villages initiative to transform the existing New Gate Arts & Culture Centre in the Fountain estate and the adjacent vacant site, into a state-of-the-art shared performance space.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The North West Cultural Partnership has used arts and creativity as a catalyst for change over the years, bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together in shared experiences.
“The investment of £1.7m by the Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative, in a new build multi-use performance space will expand their ability and opportunity to facilitate more activities and training; while connecting with wider audiences, not only from the Urban Village area but across the City and further afield, breathing new life into this area.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill added: “The arts play a significant role in promoting peace building in our communities. Creating safe and inclusive spaces to develop an understanding of different cultures is key in building a shared future where everyone is respected.
“This fantastic new state-of-the-art cultural centre in the Fountain will be a welcoming and shared space for locals and visitors alike to participate and engage in theatre, music, dance and much more. This £1.7m investment will also help to rejuvenate and bring new life to the area. I have no doubt it will create real opportunities for local people and will be a real asset to the entire North West area and beyond.”
A leaflet information drop to local residents will be undertaken by the council as delivery partner with the Urban Villages Initiative. The local community, interested groups and stakeholders can attend an information webinar to find out what will be on offer to them in this new facility.
The public can view plans on the DCSDC planning portal and at the council offices, while complying with Government guidance allows.
This £1.7m investment is designed to not only enhance the local environment and improve community relations and engagement, but restore pride and confidence among those living and working in this area of the city.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, said, “I welcome the proposed investment from the NI Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative and the objectives set out for the project. I am confident the refurbishment of this important historic building and the proposed extension would be greatly utilised by the entire community and will become a significant arts and cultural venue across the NW region.”
Stephen Gillespie, the council’s Director of Business and Culture, said “I am delighted to see that this will be a community arts facility that meets the needs and ambitions of local artists, performers, user groups, residents and the wider community, it is most welcomed.”