Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots has visited two County Down villages set to be revitalised by a major investment of £250,000 from his department.
The works at Magheralin and Kinallen are being funded through the LEADER element of the NI Rural Development Programme (2014-20) and are being managed by SOAR from the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Local Action Group (LAG).
The funding will see a state-of-the-art football pitch installed in Magheralin and a range of environmental improvements at Kinallen.
Welcoming the start of the works, Mr Poots said: “These projects will improve the quality of life for residents in Kinallen and Magheralin by providing a village core and enhanced facilities for social inclusion, recreation and physical activity and are an excellent example of how DAERA, in partnership with councils and communities, is delivering for our rural communities.
“Both of the projects were identified following local consultation and are aimed at improving the quality of life for the residents in the area.
“Kinallen will benefit from new features such as pedestrian paving, landscaping, site furniture and associated drainage.
“Meanwhile, in Magheralin the existing football pitch will be replaced with a state-of-the-art sand carpet format, complete with a walking area, ‘ball stop’ fencing, landscaping and site furniture. Both of the projects will be completed by September this year.”
Councillor Kyle Savage, Chair of the Local Action Group, said: “These projects have been a long time in the planning and a lot of work has gone into their development by the Local Action Group (LAG) board and staff.
“As LAG Chairman, I am very grateful to all those who have worked so hard to get these projects approved and I am delighted to see the works commenced on site.”
Councillor Kevin Savage, the Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, commented: “This investment will help the village of Kinallen reach its full potential by providing a central meeting point for residents in the district.
“Similarly, the new pitch at Clarendon Park in Magheralin will provide a site where residents can meet and engage as well as providing an excellent venue for local groups and, of course, football clubs to enjoy.
“My hearty congratulations go to all involved for bringing both the projects to life and I know they will bring a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment to the people of both villages.”
Mr Poots concluded: “I am delighted that despite the many recent challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis these projects are now under way.
“This represents a clear indication that we have managed to conduct business as usual despite the pressures we as a society have faced in these unprecedented times.
“I want to thank all those involved for all their hard work and dedication to bringing these projects to the point where the work on the ground has begun.”