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Local community care provider benefits from developer contribution

Date: 11 Mar 2022


Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Kate Nicholl shares a laugh with three-year-olds Ria and Ben in the newly refurbished playground at South Belfast Sure Start.

A group providing support for families and young children in south Belfast has benefitted from a £20,000 investment from Northern Ireland’s largest IT company.

A group providing support for families and young children in south Belfast has benefitted from a £20,000 investment from Northern Ireland’s largest IT company.

The money was secured from Allstate NI through a developer contribution as part of the planning approval process for its headquarters at May’s Meadows.

Working in partnership with Allstate NI, Belfast City Council has redeveloped the outdoor space at South Belfast Sure Start, creating a colourful playground for children of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Kate Nicholl congratulated all parties involved in bringing the initiative forward.

“South Belfast Sure Start provides a vital service for families in this part of the city, and it’s wonderful to see the children enjoying this new facility,” said Councillor Nicholl.

“This initiative demonstrates how important collaboration between the public and private sector is in delivering tangible outcomes that will benefit the whole community.”

The outdoor space includes new thermoplastic graphics, colourful rubberised play surfaces, upgraded timber boundary fencing, colourful timber planters. New timber play equipment focuses on younger children with a large story telling tepee, a light reflecting pergola with musical chimes and a large sandpit.

There are also large sensory play panels, a mud kitchen, reflecting mirrored daisies and planters to support eco-education.

John Healy, vice president and managing director at Allstate NI said: “Allstate have been supporting the local communities we operate in for over 20 years, and I am delighted to continue that support for the South Belfast Sure Start facility. Sure Start provide a superb service for many families and I hope this new outdoor space will be enjoyed by them for many years from now.”

Early Learning co-ordinator at South Belfast Sure Start, Alison Robinson added: “We are all delighted with the development of our outdoor area enabling the children attending access to deep rich satisfying high quality outdoor provision promoting the value and importance of being outside.

“We have had lots of exciting outdoor learning experiences and continue to support learning through play outside which has been extremely important during the covid pandemic.”

Siobhan McDonnell, Community Development Officer for the Markets Development Association said: “The Sure Start services are a vital provision in the area for children, young people and families and act as a key role in child development and family support in the Market.

“This newly restored play area will improve the services which Sure Start can provide and add to an extensive service. The development would not have been possible without the work of (former Belfast Lord Mayor) Deirdre Hargey who was involved in the early stages of securing the development initially right through to pushing for funding to further develop the outdoor space, work that is greatly appreciated by all members of the Market community.”

For more information on our playground improvement programme visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/playgrounds

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