Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA has today congratulated both the organisers and the participants of the Craigavon Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles Project.
Running since 2013, the project, known locally as the Bushcrafting Centre, has received funding of £310,000 from the Department for Social Development’s (DSD) Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund.
Visiting the Bushcrafting Centre, Mervyn Storey said: “It is great to see that, since this unique project started in January 2013, it has exceeded all expectations providing opportunities for over 3,000 Neighbourhood Renewal residents to avail of the chance to participate in the wide range of activities provided including kayaking, archery and opportunities for marine ranger training, the latter of which is targeted at those aged 18 years and above who are long term unemployed.”
The aims of the Bushcrafting Centre are to assist in addressing the important issues as set out in the Neighbourhood Renewal Area Action Plans for Lurgan, Portadown and Brownlow these include: High crime rates / anti-social behaviour; Community well being and the social environment;Environmental and conservation issues; and Employment deprivation.
The Minister added: “I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate all those involved in this project. It is an excellent example of where the partnership approach, involving central government, local government, the voluntary and community sector and the private sector, is delivering benefits and improving the quality of life of residents living in areas of disadvantage.
“The dedication of all those involved in the development and delivery of this unique project are to be commended and I wish everyone involved continued success now and in the future.”
During the visit the Minister heard about the Council’s plans to enhance the project by building three new Eco Pods. These are redwood timber frame domes which are ideal for winter use and can be fitted with electricity for heating and indoor catering during the colder weather.
They will blend into the natural environment of Oxford Island Nature Reserve. The pods will develop the sustainability of the project and increase the residential capacity and seasonality of the project.
The Craigavon Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles Project has also benefited from contributions of £144,591 from Craigavon Borough Council who manage the project.
The Project was developed by Craigavon Borough Council in partnership with the Southern Education and Library Board Youth Services, Wade Training (facilitated through the Department for Employment and Learning’s Steps to Work programme), PSNI, local community groups and local schools.
Picture: Michael Cooper
Read more news: