People in North Belfast are celebrating a £680,000 sports investment which has provided a new modern 3G artificial pitch at Marrowbone Millennium Park.

It has been jointly funded by Belfast City Council, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Sport NI and the Department for Social Development.

Young people, local government ministers, councillors and local community representatives officially opened the pitch today (Friday) marking a significant investment in a neighbourhood in need of sporting facilities as well as supporting health and well being programmes in the neighbourhood.

The new pitch can be used throughout the year increasing access for a range of groups and young people and a sports development plan has been produced to target under-represented groups, including disabled, older people and females.

The Deputy Chair of the Council’s Parks and Leisure Committee, Councillor Caoimhín MacGiolla Mhín said: ‘This is the latest project to be delivered as part of the council’s £150 million Investment Programme which has already seen £75 million of schemes either completed or on the ground, creating new or improving existing facilities and boosting quality of life for people across the city.

“Partnership working is central to the programme, and this is a good example of government departments and the council working with the local community to deliver sustainable projects.

It also ties in with our priorities to make Belfast a healthier city.”

Speaking at the venue, Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “Sport has the power to promote equality, tackle poverty and encourage social inclusion. It provides not only health benefits for those involved, but social and wider community benefits as well. This is particularly true in areas with a history of under-investment.

 

“As we see with Marrowbone Millennium Park, it is important that we provide communities with proper facilities. As we hand this development over, it is also important that we encourage people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to use these facilities to get maximum return,” she said.

Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, commented: “Marrowbone’s new state of the art sports facilities are an excellent example of partnership in action. It is rewarding to see that Sport NI’s investment of almost £200k has added value to the investment made by others, showing the power of working together to benefit communities and sports organisations. Let’s encourage everyone to get active and get healthy by using the new 3G pitch!”

Following a visit to the new facility, the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, commented: “The delivery of this 3G Pitch with floodlighting is a much needed facility for the communities living in the Ardoyne and Marrowbone area. It will aid the development of sport and physical well being, a priority identified in the local Neighbourhood Renewal Action Plan. It is another good example of statutory departments and agencies working in partnership with and responding to the needs of local communities.”