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Two more play parks have been opened this month in Jonesborough and Cullyhanna.

The development of the play facilities will see children and young people from Jonesborough and Cullyhanna benefit from the latest state-of-the-art equipment in these rural areas. The new fully inclusive play park at Jonesborough was officially opened to be public on Tuesday 26 February 2019.  Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Oksana McMahon was joined by councillors and pupils from Jonesborough Primary School to formally open the new play park for the local community.  The pupils enjoyed playing and interacting with the new play equipment after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new play parks are also a boost to the Council’s ‘Be Active’ campaign, launched last year, which aims to motivate people to undertake more activity in their day-to-day lives.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Council Chairman Councillor Mark Murnin opens Cullyhanna play park with the pupils from St Patricks Primary School, Cullyhanna, local councillors and community representatives.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Council Chairman Councillor Mark Murnin opens Cullyhanna play park with the pupils from St Patricks Primary School, Cullyhanna, local councillors and community representatives. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council recently celebrated the opening of two major play parks for residents in Jonesborough and Cullyhanna. This project was part funded by the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership, which is a programme supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union, with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council also contributing towards the overall investment.

Councillor McMahon said, “This will certainly be a fantastic play park for all families to enjoy.  Well done to everyone involved in bringing this community asset to fruition.  We are delighted to be transforming our play facilities for children across the district to create opportunities for everyone and to encourage them to Be Active.”

The play park at Jonesborough includes Timber Fitness Trails which are designed to encourage physical development in a fun yet challenging way. Several sections of the Fitness Trails include rope and log walks, trapeze swings, traverse walls and balance beams. A digital stopwatch display board is also featured that will allow children to test their speed and abilities on different pieces of equipment within the park.

On Tuesday afternoon at St Patrick’s Park, Cullyhanna the new play park was declared officially open by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin. The opening event was attended by local councillors, residents, and children from St Patrick’s Primary School.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Oksana McMahon with the help of pupils from Jonesborough Primary School cuts the ribbon to open the refurbished play park.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Oksana McMahon with the help of pupils from Jonesborough Primary School cuts the ribbon to open the refurbished play park. Photograph: NewRayPics.com

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said “A lot of work has gone into the transformation of this park and I am delighted to see so many here today to enjoy the celebrations. It is a pleasure for me to declare this park open for the community. This park will encourage children to play, learn, grow and Be Active.”

This play park includes a Matrix Agility System which is the first in Northern Ireland. This cutting-edge play system provides the ultimate climbing experience for both agile teenagers and adults. Towering above the play surface, it is physically challenging and visually stunning. For younger children the park has an adventure trail ‘Fantasy Fun Run’ that promotes fitness and active play to a wide range of ages and abilities. It features play equipment such as tightrope walks, log runs, rolling barrels and is a popular activity in the park.

Both projects were part funded by the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership which is a programme supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union with Newry Mourne and Down District Council also contributing towards the overall investment. The development of the play facilities will see children and young people across the district benefit from the latest state of the art equipment in the rural areas of Meigh, Belleek, Jonesborough, Burren, Killough, Drumaness, Crossgar, Drumintee, Lurganare, Forkhill, Cullaville, Cullyhanna, Ballyholland, Killyleagh and Lislane.

Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership funded the project to the value of £500,000, and Chair of the Local Action Group, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew commented: “This partnership project between Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the Rural Development Partnership and our local rural communities is delivering real impact on the ground producing state of the art play parks in many areas. Our children and young people are the ultimate winners who will benefit from these fantastic facilities.”

Jerome Burns, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs representative added: “The Department is delighted to be a partner in this project which has produced such a significant impact across the District. Council funding matched with DAERA and EU funding through the Rural Development Fund has maximised the overall impact. The positive benefits of play for children is matched by the positive impacts on the whole rural community including improved access to facilities, health and well-being and community cohesion.”

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