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Attwood announces £10million City of Culture funding package for Derry

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood today made a rallying call for organisations in Derry to bid for a slice of the 10million City of Culture Capital funding he has secured for the city.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Minister wants the local community to benefit as much as possible while contributing to a really successful year.

The funding will go towards culture venues and services, retail areas and an indoor venue which will compete for prestigious events such as the BRIT Awards and Sports Personality of the Year.

Visiting Derry, Alex Attwood said:

“I want communities to benefit as much as possible from the City Of Culture year. This is a one-off opportunity to make that happen. Already we have in train some exciting projects earmarked for the £10million. Ilex will shortly commence a process to procure a demountable pavilion, which will accommodate 8,000 people. This would be a plum venue for competing for the likes of the BRIT Awards and Sports Personality of the Year.

Up to £1million of funding will also be provided to enhance a number of retail areas on both the Cityside and Waterside.”

The City Centre Initiative, working in partnership with traders and other stakeholders, have been asked to develop Action Plans that will improve a number of the retail streets across the City to attract more visitors and shoppers into these areas especially in the evening.

Referring to grants up for grabs the Minister continued:

“I am also today making an open call for expressions of interest from organisations to enhance the City's cultural community infrastructure. A significant amount of this funding will be used to improve and develop cultural venues and services. It is key to the success of the City of Culture that the community, in its broadest sense, benefits from the many events that will take place in the City during 2013 and beyond and venues that will host events and attract tourists and visitors alike must be to the highest possible standard for now and into the future.”

The Minister concluded:

“Derry has much to look forward to with the opening of the Peace Bridge later this year, the Clipper Race in 2012 and the City of Culture in 2013. My Department is also transforming the city with improvement works. These are exciting times and I know the people of Derry, who have a very strong cultural tradition of song, dance and warm hospitality, will rise to the challenge of delivering a programme of events that will be second to none.”

Welcoming the announcement of funding, Mayor, Councillor Colum Eastwood said the investment recognises the potential of the City of Culture and creates immediate delivery opportunities.

“Today’s announcement pledges significant support to the City through recognising the important role the creative economy has in driving economic development, investment and regeneration. City of Culture 2013 provides us with a real opportunity to grow the city’s reputation as a cultural and creative centre and we look forward to showcasing our potential on an international stage and indeed making culture accessible for everyone who lives, works or visits the city and region. Culture is one successful component of the broader range of regeneration initiatives for the City and I welcome DSD’s continuing support to the City and to the City’s Regeneration Plan which will be published very shortly.”

Martin Bradley, Chair of Culture Company 2013 said:

“The City of Culture Capital fund provides immediate opportunities for a range of projects to be advanced for 2013. This is a great boost and an indication of the potential for business and community growth. It is a positive statement of support for the city”.

During his visit to Derry today, Minister Attwood also took the opportunity to view construction work on a new office block on his Department's Clondermot site. This project , which is being undertaken by the Waterside Development Trust, will deliver a high quality 15,000 square foot building which will provide office and community facilities for Derry City Council Groundwork and the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership. A new entrance to the entire site is also being provided as part of this project.

The Department is also working with Derry City Council to upgrade the pitches and the changing facilities on the site and has provided funding of some £60,000 in the current financial year in support of this project.

Notes to editors:

  1. News Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 90829078. Out of Office contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.
  2. Ilex Urban Regeneration Company Limited (Ilex) was set up in 2003 by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland (DSD) to plan, develop and sustain the economic, physical and social regeneration of the Derry City Council area.