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New report lays out bright future for West Belfast

Harry Connolly and Jim Girvan are preparing for the launch tomorrow of the key report Harry Connolly and Jim Girvan are preparing for the launch tomorrow of the key report
By Brónach Ní Thuama

A NEW report detailing the positive transformation that has taken place in West Belfast in recent years will be launched on tomorrow morning (Friday).

‘Vision 20:20 Transforming West Belfast’ will look to the future as well as outlining projects such as the James Connolly Interpretive Centre, Casement Park and the Roddy McCorley Society interactive museum and visitor centre.

The report has been commissioned by Fáilte Feirste Thiar and the West Belfast Partnership Board and will highlight the amount of investment that has gone into the West of the city.
Projects in the spotlight in the report include:

•£25m from Belfast City Council for the new Andersonstown Leisure Centre
•2m from the Department for Communities and Ciste for Áras na BhFál
• £1m for the Balmoral Hotel
•£8.5m for the Blackmountain Shared Space Project
•£15m investment for Brook Leisure Centre
•£6m for the Falls Park/City Cemetery Masterplan

In total, the report will list 36 projects in West Belfast that have benefited from investment.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News ahead of the launch, Harry Connolly, Executive Director of Fáilte Feirste Thiar, said: “In recent years West Belfast has began to secure increased amounts of public sector investment.

“Research undertaken for this publication has uncovered that this combined investment totals over £300 million – a significant figure.

“Many people involved in our local private, public and community sectors will not be fully aware of the huge amount of work involved nor the scale of the investment secured. The Vision 20:20 Transforming West Belfast publication captures, articulates and plots out in a user-friendly format the depth of investment, the impact of this investment and, importantly, a timetable for delivery.

“Only projects that have been secured are showcased. Vision 20:20 will act as a catalyst in helping to leverage further investment.”

Jim Girvan, Operations Director with the West Belfast Partnership Board, said: “West Belfast has seen transformational change over the past twenty years with its buildings, structure, style and landscape, and we want to encourage this growth in partnership with local communities.

“West Belfast is an amazing place where people have business accolades and creative solutions, which creates the perfect place for people to live, work, invest, visit and enjoy.”

Welcoming the launch of the report, MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey added: “As MP for this constituency I have the privilege of having knowledge of all of these projects and an appreciation of the sheer volume of effort and dedication that goes into making each and every one of these projects a success.

“I am of the firm belief that Vision 20:20 is only the beginning, the first phase and perhaps the most important, of a tangible transformation in West Belfast that puts local people central to development and builds a unique model that allows our resilience and spirit to grow.”

Vision 20:20 Transforming West Belfast will be launched on Friday, December 15, at 9.30am in An Chultúrlann, Falls Road.

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