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McCausland announces funding of £150,000 for restoration of rural retreat for Greater Shankill youth

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced additional funding of 150,000 to support the continued restoration of Ardaluin House, Co. Down.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013

On a visit to mark the completion of Phase One restoration works to this outdoor activity centre, the Minister praised the project.

Minister McCausland said: “This facility offers young people a safe, purpose built environment where they can experience positive influences. Programmes such as the Belfast Activity Centre Youth Build Initiative provide real opportunities to build self esteem, confidence and skills, and promotes the recognition of the importance of young people’s needs and engagement in community regeneration.

“In the last decade we have seen unprecedented changes for young people in Northern Ireland, particularly those in our most disadvantaged communities. Dramatic transformations in family structures, work patterns and mobility have all contributed to pressure on young people, which is why places such as this are so valuable.

“The programmes available through Ardaluin House support my Department’s strategic objectives of community, social, and economic renewal. These objectives aim to improve the quality of life for people in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods. The mid-term review of the Neighbourhood Renewal strategy has shown that services provided by organisations, such as the Belfast Activity Centre, can make real life changing differences to individuals and so are worthy of our support.”

The project to restore Ardaluin House is aimed at providing a residential outdoor learning experience for children and young people from the Greater Shankill and surrounding areas of North Belfast. The facility is managed by the Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) and approximately 1,000 young people per year use the facility.

Tom Scott, Chairman of BAC said: “This is a significant milestone in the continued development of the partnership of BAC and Ardaluin House and our ability to address the development needs of young people. Our partnership with the Department for Social Development has been a key ingredient in our work and I would like to sincerely thank Minister McCausland and his team of officials for their continued assistance including the investment made in Ardaluin. The partnership between the Department and BAC is having a positive impact on the delivery of personal development youth services in North Belfast and Greater Shankill through our Youth Build project.”

The Department for Social Development has now, in total, contributed £350,000 to this restoration project. Financial support of £100,000 has also been provided by Ulster Garden Villages.

Notes to editors:

  1. DSD has in total contributed £350,000 capital funding through the Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund toward the restoration of Ardaluin House. Neighbourhood Renewal revenue funding totalling £815,718 has been awarded to the Belfast Activity Centre to develop and deliver vital services and programmes for young people considered at most disadvantage within the catchment of the Greater Shankill area of Belfast and its neighbouring communities.
  2. Ardaluin House, built in 1859, was acquired by Ballygomartin Boys Secondary School in 1970 for use as a residential facility for their pupils until the Education Board approved the establishment of the Ardaluin Trust in 1997. Since then the house and its grounds have continued to provide a residential and outdoor learning opportunity for young people considered at most disadvantage within the catchment of the Greater Shankill area of Belfast and its neighbouring communities.
  3. In 2010, the Ardaluin Trust offered to share stewardship of this uniquely positioned resource with the Belfast Activity Centre through the establishment of a new Board of Trustees, the renamed Ardaluin Regeneration Trust. This has presented a unique opportunity to create a dynamic future legacy for continuing generations of young people engaged in programmes such as the BAC Greater Shankill Youth Build Initiative.
  4. Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 9082 9078. Out of office hours please contact Duty Press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  5. Photos of the visit can be viewed later today on flickr