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28th February 2020

Mourne, Gullion & Lecale Rural Development Partnership (MGL) has awarded Greenhill YMCA, Newcastle a grant of £500,000 from the Basic Services Scheme of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2014-2020 towards the building of a new state of the art Community Hub. Delivery of the NIRDP is administered by MGL, on behalf of DAERA, under the LEADER approach with local people making the decisions on funding.

Greenhill YMCA is an outdoor residential centre set in the slopes of Slieve Donard Mountain. Funding awarded will contribute to the construction of a Multi-Sport, Leisure and Community Hub with a wide range of facilities including a multi-function hall, workshop area, café / kitchen area, locker rooms with unisex shower and changing cubicles, and a teaching pool with shallow water so participants can train in water safety awareness.

The new Community Hub, when complete, will add to the already extensive list of activities on offer at the existing site in Donard Park. Greenhill YMCA hosts, on average, 26,000 young people every year, from 34 different communities providing services ranging from Peace building to Vocational Training.

Chairperson of MGL, Roisin Mulgrew, stated: “I am delighted to see this large-scale project coming to light, it has been many months in the pipeline. This investment will make a welcome addition to the Newcastle area and will positively add more services on offer to young people from ages 6 to 18. Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Partnership has rolled out various schemes since the programme began in 2014 which has led to local investments in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area”.

Jerome Burns, Contract Manager from Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said, “The Leader Programme, through which this project has been funded, enables local people to determine the needs of their own area and decide how best to address these and this is an excellent example of how the Programme is delivering on the ground. I am certain that the addition of this community hub to the long established facilities at Greenhill YMCA will be a valued asset to the local community,”

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Charlie Casey said, “I am pleased that Rural Development funding has been awarded to this Project. This new facility will aim to help deliver a range recreational activities and programmes which are sustainable, accessible and meet the needs of the local area. These initiatives reflect the objectives within our district’s Community Plan, to provide services that ultimately benefit the health and wellbeing of our residents”.

The multi-use Community Hub is due to open in Autumn 2020.

YMCA Construction underway

Back row: Applicant Kenny Baxter, CEO of Greenhill YMCA; John Peacock National Secretary YMCA Ireland Front row: Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chair of Mourne Gullion and Lecale Rural Development; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey; and Lisa Clydesdale DAERA Representative

If you would be interested in applying under one of the schemes, please contact us on 0300 013 2233 ext 2506 (Downpatrick office) to register your interest.

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