Stakeholders celebrate success of first year of Waterside Shared Village project
27 September 2023
Community and political leaders have joined funders and facility user groups of the Waterside Shared Village to celebrate the success of the initiative.
The £8m project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and led by Derry City and Strabane District Council, working in partnership with the Irish Street Youth and Community Association and Hillcrest Community Trust.
Match funding was provided by the Northern Ireland Department for Communities and the Department of Rural and Community Development, Ireland.
The Village includes a state-of-the-art hub building and sports complex located in the interface area between Irish Street and Top of the Hill.
It aims to build trust and reconciliation between the two communities in the area by creating a safe place for residents to engage in activities together.
The site has a 3G and grass playing pitch, cricket training area, tennis courts and the main building houses a Community Hub with meetings rooms and office space.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Patricia Logue, attended the event where she said it was an opportunity to bring together stakeholders and user groups to share their stories of the success of the project in its first year.
“The Waterside Shared Village has had a life changing impact on so many local people since it opened last year,” said Mayor Logue.
“Local sports clubs have benefited from the state of the art facilities on their doorstep and it has proven a gateway for many local people to reap the life changing benefits of physical activity.
“Crucially it has brought communities together to jointly use the facilities and work in partnership to create a safe, shared space.
“By working and playing together it has helped breakdown barriers and build trust and reconciliation.”
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphries TD, added: “I’m delighted that my Department of Rural and Community Development was able to support this initiative with funding of over €260,000.
“The projects that you have delivered through this action plan have made a huge difference in so many communities right across the district.
“They have helped enrich the lives of our young people, bring people together and tackle issues such as sectarianism, racism and prejudice - that’s what PEACE is all about.
“Congratulations to all the stakeholders involved and I have no doubt you will build on your excellent work under the new PEACEPLUS Programme.”
CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, Gina McIntyre, said: “Today’s celebration provides an opportunity to recognise the important impact the Waterside Shared Village has already had as an energetic community hub that belongs to and is for everybody.
“The varied range of activities and initiatives which have been held and housed here since it opened, is a testament to how this once derelict site has now been transformed through PEACE funding into a welcoming space for all members of the Waterside community.
“This centre is a physical manifestation of the legacy of PEACE funding and we recognise that there is more work to do and the newly launched PEACEPLUS programme will allow us to continue providing vital funding directly into the communities where it will have the most impact.”
Tony McKibben, representing the Department for Communities at the event said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the Lead Partner, Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Project Partners, Irish Street Youth and Community Association and Hillcrest Community Trust in marking the first year in operation of the Waterside Shared Village Project.
“This project, the first to be completed under the PEACE IV Shared Spaces theme, is an exemplar of what can be achieved, when neighbouring communities work together, to deliver a new shared space for everyone in the area.
“The contribution that the Department has made to the Waterside Shared Village project, through the provision of match funding and by transferring the land to develop the project, demonstrates its continued commitment to ensure the needs of communities, as expressed by the communities themselves, are met."
For more information on the project visit derrystrabaneleisure.com/watersidesharedvillage