Vital support services in north Belfast will be boosted, thanks to £2.9 million investment in two community projects on Alliance Avenue.
The projects have also received over £800,000 funding from the Department for Communities (DfC) with Grace also receiving £145,000 investment from the Urban Villages Initiative.
Grace Women’s Development Centre is currently working out of Ardoyne Community Centre. When completed, the new purpose-built family centre will support local women and families with the two-storey building offering childcare for up to 60 children, a counselling suite, a multi-functional training suite and café and office space.
Cancer Lifeline is a ‘home from home’ centre on Alliance Avenue, offering support and information for people with cancer and their loved ones. Funding will go towards the refurbishment of the current premises at number 44 and the centre’s extension to number 42 with work including the provision of a larger meeting room downstairs and a lift that will allow access to upstairs’ facilities making the facility more accessible to members.
Speaking at a visit to the site of Grace Family Centre, Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: “I’m delighted to see construction work on the site of this purpose-built facility for Grace Women’s Development Centre.
“The new facilities will enable the group to offer a wider range of learning and training opportunities that promote personal development, health and well-being.
“Construction of this centre and the refurbishment of Cancer Lifeline centre, just up the road, ensuring that the use of the premises is maximised and activities are more accessible to all members, is wonderful news for the city and the north Belfast area.
“Each of these great projects received vital funding through our Belfast Investment Fund. To date, BIF has committed £28.2 million to projects that help to develop or regenerate facilities for people who live in, invest in or visit our city. BIF forms part of the council’s £325 million physical investment programme encompassing over 350 projects which aim to boost the city’s economy, create jobs and improve quality of life in our neighbourhoods.
“Both projects also link to the goals of our local community plan – the Belfast Agenda, to improve our neighbourhoods and support and care for our residents and citizens, in particular, those facing many challenges.”
Mark O’Donnell, from the Department for Communities, said: “The Department is pleased to support projects such as these. Both projects make a massive contribution in supporting the local community and this investment will ensure that their high quality services are now matched by state-of-the-art facilities. Both support the Department’s strategic objectives of community, social, economic and physical renewal; objectives which aim to improve the quality of life for people in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods.”
Speaking about Grace Family Centre, Linsey Farrell, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative, said; “We are delighted to have contributed £145,000 to this worthwhile project. This investment will help to deliver vital services in the North Belfast Urban Village area and in particular, the very important services offered by Grace Women’s Development Centre. The Urban Villages Initiative is committed to investing in developing thriving places across the North Belfast Urban Village area and we are pleased to be supporting this project.”
For more information on the Belfast Investment Fund, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/investment