Pomeroy is to receive more than £5 million in funding to “encourage greater levels of cross-community contact within the local area.”
The funding is part of a €32.4m (£29.1m) EU package being offered to create five new “shared space” projects four in Northern Ireland and one in Co Monaghan.
The money is being offered by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
One of the most visible consequences of the troubles/conflict is the high level of social segregation which can be found right across the region.
Communities continue to live and socialise separately, with many lacking access to a shared environment where they feel safe enough to meet and learn from one another. The absence of these spaces serves only to maintain division and increase social tension.
In order to help address this €6m worth of funding has been offered, under the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, to the Connecting Pomeroy project which will encourage greater levels of cross-community contact within the local area.
Three core elements form the focus of the project which will enhance the look and feel of the centre of the village, create a suite of new community facilities, and boost outdoor and tourism opportunities through the development of a ‘magic forest’.
A total of £2m has been allocated to the forest scheme to develop a visitor centre and enchanted trail in Pomeroy Forest, featuring innovative interactive artworks through which visitors and locals alike can explore the area’s rich natural heritage, while also creating opportunities for shared learning experiences with school, youth and community groups.
New £1m community facilities will open up shared spaces for local people to enjoy, including a hall at the Church of Ireland, a 3-G multi-use games area at the Presbyterian Church and a new gym at the Pomeroy Plunkett’s GAC. Pomeroy will also benefit from a public realm upgrade, enhancing footpaths, lighting and planting and helping to connect the top and bottom of the village, which have previously been considered to be divided by ‘invisible’ peace walls. The £1m investment in this element of the project will also establish physical linkages between each of the new facilities.
Supporting the capital investment is a 3 year engagement programme to generate contact across the community,