New outdoor facilities set to open at Davitt Park
14 Feb 2019
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey is set to officially open a range of new community sports and recreation facilities at Davitt Park, St Mary’s Gardens, this Saturday.
The club’s new facilities received £1.15 million from the council’s Belfast Investment Fund and Schools Enhancement Fund and a further £345,000 from The Space and Place Programme, through the National Lottery Community Fund, thanks to National Lottery Players.
Cllr Hargey said: “Council funding has enabled the club to create a full-sized GAA pitch, spectator stand and changing pavilion, all of which will be used by the club themselves, local schools and the local community.
“Through the Belfast Agenda, council is committed to improving local neighbourhoods for local people and our Belfast Investment Fund is one way we’re working to achieve this. We have pledged £28.2 million to projects, such as this one at Davitt’s, through the fund. Each project has been developed to provide excellent local facilities, promote healthy and safe neighbourhoods and, here, to enable local people to experiences good health and wellbeing.
“I’m delighted to see the completion of these facilities here in west Belfast, right in the heart of the local community, and I’m confident that the club will go from strength to strength as a result of this funding.”
Speaking of the new facilities, Space and Place Programme Co-ordinator, Michael Hughes added: “The Michael Davitt Club and surrounding communities must be congratulated for working together to identify how a once derelict space, that was a magnet for anti-social behaviour, could be transformed.
“Following this investment, thanks to National Lottery players, local people can now benefit from a wide range of outdoor amenities and positively enhance their physical and mental health in a safe and fit for purpose environment.”
Julie Harrison, The National Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, said: “National Lottery funding has allowed the development of this wonderful new space, including nature and trim trails, an outdoor green gym, a children’s play park and community garden and allotment area. We believe it will make a real difference to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area that they live in. We want to thank the National Lottery players who have made it possible.”
Speaking in advance of Saturday’s official opening, Davitt chairperson, Tommy Shaw said: “Since being founded in the lower part of the Falls Road more than a century ago, the club has proudly and continuously offered the local community sporting, cultural and health related opportunities, amazingly without the use of a playing field of our own.
“Now, thanks to our funders and the support of the Antrim and Ulster GAA and local community, we have transformed a piece of unused ground within the Corpus Christi College grounds, along with an adjoining derelict site, into a vibrant club asset.
“While Davitt Park will be home to our club, I am hopeful it will encourage and attract the local and wider community of all ages to improve their health and wellbeing by making full use of these magnificent facilities, which can only lead to a positive and vibrant community spirit.”
The official opening of the new Davitt Park will take place this Saturday, 16 February, at 12 noon.