SEVERAL schemes have been given a funding boost after the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) committed £650,000 for outdoor recreation projects.
The projects will be delivered by not-for-profit organisations and councils working in partnership with local communities and landowners.
Announcing the funding, DAERA Deputy Secretary for Environment, Marine and Fisheries Group, David Small said: “We are delighted to support the development of these opportunities to explore, connect with and enjoy our living, working, active landscape across Northern Ireland – our coasts, mountains, farmland, designated sites, suburban green space and rivers.
“The funding will enable development of 14km of walking trails and recreation infrastructure being created, restored or improved. In addition it will facilitate development of a website to help scuba divers explore our marine habitats, opportunities for angling and research to shape the future development of outdoor recreation facilities.”
For the Bann Valley Community Group, this will enable the extension of their very well used community path network developed under a previous Environment Fund grant.
Welcoming the announcement, Bann Valley Community Group’s Aidan McPeake said: “Bann Valley Community Group are delighted to have been awarded this grant aid through the Environment Fund.
“Our Greenway Project has been a huge success so far in creating almost 3.5km of off road, safe pathways to walk, run and cycle through our community.
“The project initially set out to open up old paths which had been used for children getting to school in years gone by and was enhanced by the addition of new river walks to link up the path network.
“The scheme could not have happened if it wasn’t for the partnership working which took place with all the landowners, Clady Angling Club, Mid-Ulster Council, local schools, Bann Valley Community Group and DAERA our funders.
“The next phase of Greenway will help link the two villages, Inishrush and Clady with the pathway, to increase accessibility and user numbers and enhance the health and well-being opportunities for all the people of our Community.”
The Environment Fund is a grant programme to enable and incentivise not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver key environmental priorities across Northern Ireland. For further information, visit: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/environment-fund
The list of projects being awarded funding is as follows with a further two projects under consideration:
- Greenlough Greenway Project – Construction of 1km pathway, incorporating 3 disabled angling points to make the final connection with Clady, Inishrush and the looped pathway – Bann Valley Community Group – £44,325.
- Accessible Portstewart Strand – Provision of fully accessible bathroom facilities to allow Portstewart Strand’s Blue Flag beach (ASSI and SAC designated) to be enjoyed by people with additional mobility needs – National Trust – £44,867.
- Improving Access: Threemilewater Park – Creation of a 1.5km all-ability trail loop through a woodland linking the east and west sides of Threemilewater Park – Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council – £50,000.
- Improving Accessibility in Crumlin Glen – Widening of the bridge spanning the Crumlin River to provide all ability access from the town centre to the trails in Crumlin Glen, along with interpretation – Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council – £15,000.
- New Mossley Woodland Walk – Land acquisition and construction of 1km of pathways at New Mossley estate – Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council – £50,000.