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Villages exciting new play parks swing into action

14th February 2020

It will soon be all fun and play for the children and young people in the villages of Hilltown and Kilclief, as both villages are set to benefit from the installation of a new play park facility.

Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership (MGL RDP) awarded funding of £150,000 from the Village Renewal Scheme of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2014-2020 to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) for the development of 2 play parks in the villages of Hilltown and Kilclief. Delivery of the NIRDP is administered by MGL RDP, on behalf of DAERA, under the LEADER approach with local people making the decisions on funding.

Hilltown’s play park, located in Spelga Park, has recently undergone a major redevelopment and will now offer inclusive play for children and young people of all abilities with fun and interactive features throughout. This is a welcome addition to the village of Hilltown and the play park is due to be officially opened in March 2020.

Kilclief has no existing play provision, however work is due to commence early in the Spring on the construction of a new play park on a site adjacent to Kilclief GAC. The new facility will provide a range of play equipment offering an attractive, welcoming, and challenging area for children and young people of all abilities in the area.

Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of MGL RDP welcomed the funding news, “The need for the two play parks was established through extensive consultation with both local communities and will enable the children and young people in these areas to have equal opportunities to play and positively impact on their health and wellbeing”. The regeneration works to both villages will improve the quality of life for rural dwellers and their surrounding areas.”

Reinforcing the Council’s commitment and support for the NIRDP, Councillor Terry Andrews, Vice Chair, NMDDC said “The provision of these additional play facilities within the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area are affirming the recommendations from both the Council’s Play Strategy and Village Plans. This makes our district an area in which local communities have access to opportunities and high-quality services whilst working in partnership with MGL RDP, DAERA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.”

Jerome Burns, Contract Manager DAERA, commented, “The Leader Programme, through which these projects will be funded, enables local people to determine the needs of their own area and decide how to address them and this is an excellent example of how the Programme is delivering on the ground. I am sure both these play parks will be valued and well utilised by their local rural communities.”


Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Vice Chairperson, Councillor Terry Andrews; Chairperson of Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership’s Local Action Group, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew; Lisa Clydesdale DAERA Representative; Assistant Director of Enterprise Employment and Regeneration, Jonathan McGilly; Rural Development Programme Manager Kevin McGarry; Members of the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership’s Local Action Group; Applicants; Playboard NI Representative Maeve McLaughlin; Local Community Representatives; and Staff and Pupils of St. Malachy’s Primary School, Kilclief celebrate the announcement of funding towards the new Playpark at Kilclief.


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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