The Aghagallon Community Centre was officially opened this month by Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill.
The village’s community centre was part funded to the tune of £250,000 by the Rural Development Programme with the project being administered locally by the Local Action Group, Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR).
The centre provides a new home for the Aghagallon Pre-school which caters for 24 local children. Other activities taking place include the Seven Derrys Youth Club, the bowling club, yoga, aerobics, exercise for people aged 50+, hip hop and dance fitness sessions, speech and drama, Irish language and computer classes, meetings of the Women’s Institute, St Vincent de Paul and the Pastoral Council.
At its official opening Minister Michelle O’Neill said that the Aghagallon Community Centre will make a significant and positive impact on rural life. She said: “This facility increases the opportunities to those living in rural areas, through the provision of better basic services.
“It is a tangible and positive outcome of Rural Development Programme funding, made available by DARD and delivered through the Southern Organisation Action Local Action Group and Joint Council Committee.
“To date they have committed £14 million pounds of RDP funding within their area of operation in partnership with my Department.” Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Colin McCusker said: “I’m delighted to be in Aghallon today, on the bank of Lough Neagh to celebrate the opening of this terrific new rural community centre.
“It is a great achievement for the Aghallon Community Group and is a great asset for the entire community.”
Miceal McCoy, Chair of SOAR added: “It is because as local people have been able to make local decisions we have been able to successfully invest these funds in a variety of projects. Ultimately our funding is there to improve the quality of life in rural areas and we believe this project, along with a number of others we have funded in this area will play a significant part in achieving this goal.”
The Rural Development Programme is jointly funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and DARD.