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New St Columb's Park outdoor learning space unveiled

06 October 2022

A new sheltered space with inclusive seating has been officially unveiled at St Columb's Park Walled Garden.

The new £50,000 facility is part of wider improvement works including the creation of a new walled garden at St Columb's Park House, which was designed in-house by Council and constructed by Willie Doherty Construction Ltd. The Department for Communities contributed £27,000 to the overall project costs through its Access and Inclusion Programme.

The covered space will provide shelter for visitors to engage in activities, and an opportunity to offer a range of new events and classes within the beautifully restored historic Walled Garden. The Shared Space Walled Garden was successfully restored by Council in 2019, working in conjunction with St Columb's Park House and the Acorn Fund, with funding secured from the EU's Peace IV Shared Space Programme.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said the sheltered area would enhance the provision of activities at the park. "I am delighted to see the opening of the Shelter, which is the latest chapter in the wider development plans for St Columb's Park. The park is a shared community space and a green haven in the middle of the city, and this new facility will help support the delivery of a range of new cross-community activities.

"As part of our green infrastructure plans, Council is focused on the provision of green spaces within urban areas that are open and accessible to everyone. I want to thank the Minister for her continued support of this project and the development of one of the most beautiful parklands in the country."

Minister Hargey said: "I am delighted that my Department was able to support this project through its Access and Inclusion Programme, which is aimed at addressing the physical barriers to engagement in arts, culture and active recreation by people with disabilities. The covered shelter area and the accessible seating will help to enhance the visitor experience and increase accessibility and inclusiveness at St Columb's Park Walled Garden. Facilities like these should meet the needs of the entire community including people with disabilities and I commend the Council for the improvements they have made to the park that will increase opportunities for passive recreation and improve the physical and mental well-being for all individuals."

Director of St Columb's Park House, Sharon Doherty, added: "We are delighted to see work on this new outdoor space within the Walled Garden complete. It adds a new dimension to the gardens, providing opportunities for people of all abilities to engage in many of the community based programmes offered here at St Columb's Park House as well as providing a community space for other groups and organisations to avail of. 

"Post pandemic, being able to be outdoors and in nature has become increasingly important to so many within our community and the addition of the new sheltered area provides the perfect backdrop. It certainly enhances our fantastic Walled Garden and is another great space for the community to enjoy, utilising our shared green space where everyone can be involved."