Two derelict shops in Corcrain are to be converted into a community centre for the area, it was revealed this week.
The shops are being refurbished in a £57,000 project which will provide accommodation for Corcrain and Redmanville Community Partnership (CRCP).
Just last week, the Development Minister Nelson McCausland spent an hour and a half touring the Corcrain and Redmanville estates and meeting local representatives to discuss housing and the need for youth and community facilities.
Karl Black, secretary of CRCP, said the visit had been very fruitful, with the outcome being a forthcoming meeting with the Minister to discuss development proposals in more detail.
Mr Black said the group was “over the moon” about the shops announcement. “We plan to have them merged into one unit which will be the nearest thing to a community centre and it will be used for youth and community projects,” he said.
Corcrain Community Centre was closed two years ago and since then the group has been using a house as a makeshift community centre.
The meeting with the Minister was requested via Upper Bann MP David Simpson’s office to highlight the lack of facilities in the area with a view to getting some advice or funding.
“We told the Minister there is no youth provision or youth worker in the area. The Edgarstown area gets funding for youth work as it falls within the Neighbourhood Renewal area,” said Mr Black.
“But yet again, because we do not fall within the area, we find ourselves disadvantaged.
“We explained this to the Minister and put forward a few ideas to him, including some schemes that are being piloted in other areas.”
Mr Black said the lack of facilities for young people was also highlighted and the need for a pitch or multi-use games area (MUGA) proposed.
The Minister was also shown 37 houses in Corcrain that still have wooden window frames.
Said Mr Black, “A Housing Executive official was able to assure us that these homes will be included in a future scheme.”
He added, “The Minister gave us good advice on how we should go about drawing up a full development plan which we will bring with us when we go to meet him.”
The delegation will consist of members of the CRCP, councillors and MP David Simpson.
Councillor Darryn Causby said the Minister’s visit had been very useful and that the issues raised would be taken forward at the next meeting.