NEW £2M STATE-OF-THE- ART FACILITIES OFFICIALLY OPENED AT GREENHILL YMCA
01 July 2010
Greenhill YMCA residential outdoor education centre, officially opened its new state-of-the-art facilities in Newcastle. The event coincides with the relocation of YMCA’s traditional headquarters from College Square in Belfast to its Newcastle base offering the charity greater flexibility and cost savings and enabling it to broaden the reach of its services.
The new complex, which includes a new resource centre as well as self contained and shared residential lodgings will be used by both local and international volunteers to help Greenhill YMCA deliver its wide range of residential and community outreach programmes.
Denis Rooney, CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “The Fund is delighted to have contributed £1.1m under its Leaving a Legacy Programme towards these new facilities. This will enable Greenhill YMCA to increase its work with local groups and help them to develop community relations strategies that tackle the effects of segregation and contested space. It will also enable the delivery of community relations training, as an integrated element of the outdoor pursuits programme, to a much wider target group.
“Under its current strategy, the Fund continues to develop and support pioneering initiatives, particularly in education, housing and with community organisations, that promote integration and underpin peace building and reconciliation. Since the inception of the Fund in 1986, it has contributed over £628 million to a wide variety of projects in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.”
Speaking at the event, Martin McDonald, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC) said: “ RDC is delighted to have been involved with the successful implementation of the project by providing a grant of £502,000 from its Peace 2 Flagship programme, a project that would impact on the lives of not only present day users but for future generations to come”.
Mr McDonald went on to say that this was one of a number of projects based in rural areas that had seen a total of £23million being invested to harness the long term sustainability of the rural area while at the same time addressing community relations issues.
Down District Council Councillor Peter Fitzpatrick said: "The commitment of the YMCA to delivering a valuable service, both to the local community and visiting groups, is evident when you look at the marvellous facilities that have been provided in this beautiful setting. Indeed, we are lucky to have such a facility in our district and we should all be proud of it."
Dr. Tony Hopkins CBE, Chairman of Ulster Garden Villages Limited commented: “On behalf of Ulster Garden Villages I would like to congratulate Greenhill on bringing into existence the wonderful new facilities, which are being celebrated today”.
We were delighted to offer early support for this worthwhile project and hope that this new ‘state of the art’ complex will be enjoyed and used by many generations to come.”
Stephen Turner, National Secretary, YMCA, said: “Greenhill YMCA is fully committed to building a society where young people can live free of fear and sectarianism. This development will ensure we can carry on this work for the next generation as we build ‘wider horizons’ physically, mentally and spiritually.”
Gladys Adams, President of YMCA Ireland: “YMCA is very grateful to all our funders for making the regeneration of Greenhill possible. We look forward to working with our partners to make this step of faith bear fruit for the future.”
A wide range of outdoor activities will be taking place on the day to celebrate the opening with young people showcasing a high level ropes course, archery, African drumming and taking part in colourful games with parachutes.