New Sion Mills play park officially opened
11 October 2021
DAERA Minister, Edwin Poots MLA and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, have officially opened a new play park in Sion Mills.
The Parkside play area was delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council, with support from funding allocated by Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
Sion Mills was identified by the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership as a strategic Village Renewal Project, with £195k in grant funding set aside for the new play park. The funding was part of the Rural Development Programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and identified through public consultation and the 'Cluster Village Plan'. Council also contributed project match funding of £65k and an additional £32k to the new facility.
Equipment has been installed in the play area to cater for different ages and abilities and includes a wheelchair accessible ground flush roundabout, a variety of swings, sensory equipment and quiet areas with sound, visual and tactile elements. There is also a zip line, a pendulum swing, an obstacle course, multi units with towers, climbing nets and different slides.
Mayor Graham Warke said the new play park is a fantastic addition for the whole community.
"This is an absolutely first-class facility here in Sion Mills that will bring a lot of joy to children and adults alike within the village.
"This is another example of Council's commitment to our play plan provision and to supporting our rural communities as well. The open green space ties in with our Green Infrastructure Plan bringing environmental benefits as well as the social benefits that the facility has in attracting young people to this space.
He continued: "In my role as Chair of Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership (LAG) I am also delighted to see the Rural Development funding put to such good use. Without this funding the project wouldn't have been possible, so it's wonderful that the LAG has played a part in delivering this."
Speaking at the opening of the Play Park in Sion Mills, Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA said, "I am pleased that the Northern Ireland Rural Development 'LEADER' Programme, through the Village Renewal Scheme is making a real change to the fabric of rural villages and is supporting projects that are based on community need."
Minister Poots continued "I am delighted that this project will create a sense of civic pride in the village, provide tangible benefits for users and will help this rural area reach its full potential. I want to thank all those involved for all their hard work and dedication in bringing the project forward."
Elaine Duffy, Parkside Residents Group, added: "We are completely over the moon with our new play area which has totally exceeded our expectations.
"It's such a fabulous, inclusive space for everyone within our community and we are delighted to have a safe space for our children and young people to socialise together and get some exercise in.
"It's a great meeting space for the village and I have no doubt it will be well-used and well-loved for many years to come."