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Celebration event marks completion of £7M Connecting Pomeroy project

A celebration event was held today to mark the completion of the £7M Connecting Pomeroy project and to officially open the new Pomeroy Forestry Building. 

The celebration event took place at the new Pomeroy Forest Building with First Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA and deputy First Minister, Emma Little-Pengelly MLA in attendance. 

Construction of the new state-of-the-art visitor centre commenced in January 2023 and along with the associated community facilities works, accounted for £5.5M of the £7M project, which is supported by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The key project element was the creation of a series of magical trails through Pomeroy Forest, featuring 18 nature-based sculptures that can be used as an interactive play experience, and an immersive nature trail that showcases the flora and fauna of the forest.

The impressive new visitor centre at Pomeroy Forest completed as part of the project will also serve as a shared community building. It offers a large multi-use space, complete with retractable seating for approximately 150 people, two multi-purpose rooms, a coffee dock area, toilets, changing facilities and kitchen. 

Significant improvement works were also carried out at several community facilities, including the construction of a gym and changing facilities at Pomeroy GFC, a new multi-use games area at the Presbyterian Church Hall and a new Church of Ireland Hall.

A highly anticipated Public Realm Scheme in the village was also completed as part of the £7M investment featuring a new streetscape, street furniture, improved lighting with safe walking links created to the new shared facilities.

The central objective of the PEACE IV project in Pomeroy was to create a more cohesive society through an increased provision of shared spaces and services.

Speaking at the event, First Minister Michelle O’Neill said, “I am delighted to be here at the celebration event of The Connecting Pomeroy project. It offers a place where people from all walks of life can come together, enjoy nature and build lasting connections, encouraging us to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us and the diverse community we are proud to be part of. It is a real testament to our commitment to fostering strong community ties, enhancing our shared spaces and shows what can be achieved when we work together towards a common goal.”

Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly speaking at the event said, “It is a real privilege to be able to join with you all today as we celebrate the completion Connecting Pomeroy project through the PEACE IV Programme. This significant investment will not only enhance cross-community cooperation, but also promote lasting peace and prosperity in our communities. I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in bringing this project to life. Your efforts have not only created a beautiful space, but also a symbol of our collective commitment to building a better, more inclusive community.”

Communities Minister Gordon Lyons, MLA speaking about the project, said, “My Department wants to support schemes that make a real positive change to the lives of communities, families and individuals. I am confident that each element of the Connecting Pomeroy project will have a significant beneficial impact locally and beyond. It is a fabulous project that has been designed and delivered in a spirit of partnership and collaboration between churches, sporting organisations and the wider community that as a whole is something greater than the sum of its parts.  It will be a real asset for all going forward.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD also welcomed the completion of the project said, “I am delighted to see the completion of the Connecting Pomeroy Shared Space project, for which over €8.43m in funding was approved under the EU PEACE IV Programme.

“I want to congratulate Mid Ulster District Council and the community partnership, for all their hard work and dedication in the development and implementation of this project; it is a credit to all involved.

“I am very pleased that my Department of Rural and Community Development, in collaboration with the Special EU Programmes Body and the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland, was able to provide funding and support to this wonderful project to ensure its successful delivery.”

Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), welcomed the completion of the works and opening of the new facility. Speaking at the event, she said: “I am delighted to be here today to celebrate the completion of this transformative project. The creation of this wonderful new building, forest trails and the other shared spaces, both indoor and outdoor, will provide much needed facilities for everyone in Pomeroy and the surrounding area to learn, explore and grow together. 

“Creating opportunities to enhance social cohesion is central to the PEACE IV funding programme and is key to building a better, more connected future where everyone feels safe, valued and respected. I would like to congratulate Mid Ulster District Council and everyone involved in delivering this ambitious and visionary project.”

Speaking at the event, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy said,

Today marks a momentous occasion for our community as we welcome and celebrate the opening of the new Pomeroy Forest Building, made possible through the collective effort and support of our residents, local community partners, local businesses, government partners, and most notably, the EU PEACEIV Fund through SEUPB. This vibrant shared space embodies our commitment to fostering connections and enhancing the quality of life for all. From providing a hub for learning and creativity to serving as a gathering place for celebrations and collaboration, this impressive new building promises to be a cornerstone of our community for generations to come. 

“As Chair, I wholeheartedly endorse and celebrate the completion of this transformative multi-million pound Connecting Pomeroy project in our community. The results of which will not only bolster our local economy but also enhance our residents' quality of life. 

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who contributed to this endeavour and invite everyone to join us in celebrating this milestone. Together, let us embrace the opportunities the project has provided, to help strengthen bonds and build an even brighter future for our entire community.”

The Connecting Pomeroy project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Delivery of the initiative is being spearheaded by a community partnership and co-ordinated by Mid Ulster District Council. Match-funding has been provided by The Department for Communities Northern Ireland and The Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

For more on the Connecting Pomeroy project, see: