Belfast City Council receives multi-million EU funding offer to build Girdwood Community Hub

25 October 2013
For immediate release   

Council receives multi-million EU funding offer to build Girdwood Community Hub

Belfast City Council today confirmed that it has received a letter of offer from the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) to transform part of the Girdwood site in north Belfast into a state-of-the-art community hub.

The project, which has a total value of £11.7 million, is funded via the EU’s PEACE III Programme, managed by the SEUPB, the Department for Social Development and Belfast City Council.

It will be used to create a shared community space on the site of the former barracks, located between Crumlin Road and Clifton Park Avenue. The council will lead the delivery of the project, which will include a gym and wellbeing area, a canteen, youth space, meeting rooms and classrooms for Belfast Metropolitan College.

The EU PEACE III funding offer of just over £9.5 million was confirmed at today’s meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

Chairman Alderman Gavin Robinson said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding for this exciting scheme to start to transform a derelict site into a positive icon of Belfast’s future. The Girdwood hub is in a key strategic location, only a 15 minute walk from the city centre, and we are certain we can fulfil the vision of creating a shared, vibrant and safe space which everyone can enjoy.

“Local community organisations in north and west Belfast, together with elected representatives and the Department for Social Development, have been vital in bringing our plans to this stage of development. Their vision and commitment will ensure that the European Union’s investment will be a highly visible, sustainable and inspiring legacy for generations to come.”

The community hub is a key part of the council’s Investment Programme, a £150 million package of measures designed to kick-start the economy and support local communities.

“The Investment Programme has already delivered huge benefits for neighbourhoods across the city, by creating new facilities and improving existing ones, supporting our economy through major projects, like the new £1.8 million Visit Belfast Welcome Centre in the city centre, and investing in vital community projects, via our Local Investment Fund,”  explained Alderman Robinson.


“We hope this latest investment will help encourage wider regeneration of the surrounding area, offering more social, economic and leisure opportunities for those living nearby.

 “The council is confident that the conditions attached to the letter of offer, which is currently under consideration, can be agreed within the designated six week period,” said Alderman Robinson. “We have submitted two planning applications - one for the hub building and one for the infrastructure needed - and are working closely with the Planning Service to secure approval to ensure that construction can begin in January 2014, with the new centre opening by June 2015.”

The rest of the proposals for the Girdwood site are being led by the Department for Social Development, which owns the site.

ENDS

ISSUED BY CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, BELFAST CITY COUNCIL

NOTE TO EDITORS:


1. The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IVA designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and, in the case of INTERREG IVA, Western Scotland.

2. The PEACE III Programme, funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is worth €333 million and is aimed primarily at reinforcing progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promoting reconciliation. It focuses on helping Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland to reconcile communities and contribute towards a shared society.

3. For more information on the SEUPB, please visit www.seupb.eu

4. The funding offer from the PEACE III Programme, managed by the SEUPB, is for   £9,597,249.

For further information and media enquiries contact:

Media Relations Office, Belfast City Council

Telephone 028 9027 0646

Copies of all Belfast City Council media releases can be downloaded from our website, www.belfastcity.gov.uk/news

This project is part-financed by the European Union’s Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III), managed by the Special EU Programmes Body