Derry country park receives a much-needed funding boost

Initiative aimed at helping heritage organisations prepare for life after Covid

Derry country park receives a much-needed funding boost

Creggan Country Park.

A Derry charity has received a funding lifeline to help it prepare for the world after the Covid pandemic.

Creggan Country Park has received a grant of £72,900 from Heritage Recovery Fund to help with essential outdoor maintenance, biodiversity enhancement, and to help prepare for safe reopening post-Covid.

The Heritage Recovery Fund is being distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Communities as part of the £29million NI Executive allocation for heritage, arts, culture and languages.

Creggan Country Park was set up in February 1997 and provides not for profit activities for over 25,000 visitors each year including inflatable assault course on water, canoeing, pier jump, raft building, wheelyboat, angling, orienteering, treasure hunt, geocaching and team building.

These activities help to cover the running costs of the organisation and employ local people as seasonal staff.

Like other charities, Creggan Country Park has been feeling the effects of the pandemic in the form of reduced income and so this funding has come at a crucial time to help an important local heritage asset recover.

The park’s environmental programme works to improve educational attainment, and mental and physical health in people of all ages.

A free environmental education programme ‘Nature’s Classroom’ is available for schools and groups; nature therapy is delivered to families and elderly care home residents; the revamped Nature Hub will allow families to take part in free outdoor games and nature themed activities during summer months.

Environmental volunteering opportunities are available for people of all ages and abilities across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

Funding will allow the park to prepare for re-opening so that outdoor pursuits and water sports activities can be made available for families and groups and seasonal staff can return to work.

The project will also help to deliver the park’s habitat management plan which includes essential tree works, particularly along the boundary of Glenowen.

Trees over hanging the fence will be removed, and grass cutting along with scrub removal will make way for wildflower meadows to support priority species.

Funding from the Heritage Recovery Fund will also resurface paths to better and safer access for walkers, prams and wheelchair users.

Gerry Quinn, Manager at Creggan Country Park said: “We’re grateful to the Department for Communities and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for providing this funding.

“The past year has highlighted the importance of being outdoors for our mental and physical health.

“Thanks to this grant, we can carry out essential habitat management and maintenance to make our site safe, welcoming and enjoyable for visitors.”

The Heritage Recovery Fund is part of the £29 million Executive allocation that was made to the Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

This is the latest package of support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the heritage sector across the UK throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Last year, the organisation committed over £600million of National Lottery and Government funding to more than 1,500 heritage organisations, along with expertise and advice on adapting to the pandemic.

Paul Mullan, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Our local places have become more important than ever throughout this pandemic, and through this fund, we hope to encourage people to get to know their local heritage that bit better.

“We’re grateful to the Department for Communities for providing the funding and we’re delighted to fund a diverse range of projects which will make a huge impact on many communities across Northern Ireland.”

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