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      Friday 21 Mar 2014

      An east Belfast community group has benefitted from a significant upgrade of their outside premises to encourage children in the area to enjoy the great outdoors.

      The Newtownards Road Women’s Group has installed a ‘safety surface’ playground at their Tamar Street premises thanks to financial support from the George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund.

      The surface at Carew II Family Centre has been put in place to encourage young children away from television screens and computer games and to experience healthy, outdoor play.

      The rubber surfacing not only provides an added element of protection, but also excites and stimulates children to walk, run, play and interact.

      Heather McMurray from Newtownards Road Women’s Group said:

      “Many of our families that come along to the Group have little or no access to gardens and are unable to play outside due to main roads nearby or gravelly surfaces.

      “We provide a place for young people to improve their progression and develop their interaction skills, all whilst being protected should they have any unfortunate bumps or falls.

      “The surface adds a sense of imagination and fun for the kids, and absorbs water so we’re not restricted by puddles if it rains.

      “We’ve had excellent feedback from both the parents and the young children who are really excited to get out and play in the new garden.”

      The George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund provides significant financial support to local charities, schools and community groups.

      To date, it has donated over £120,000 to local projects and groups since it was developed in 2009.

      Stephen Patton, Senior Human Resources Executive at Belfast City Airport, said:

      “Carew II Family Centre which is owned and managed by The Newtownards Road Women’s Group is at the heart of the community in east Belfast, and our Fund’s primary aim is to support projects which typify community spirit.

      “Children nowadays are so used to playing indoors on computer games and are not experiencing what the outdoors has to offer- nature, fitness and general wellbeing.

      “The new safety surface will give children using the facility the confidence to run and play outdoors without worrying about falling on hard pathways or concrete.

      “It’s great to see so many children here using the centre and we are pleased our funding will leave an extremely colourful lasting impression.”

      East Belfast MLA Robin Newton, who visited the new outdoor premises, said:

      “The Newtownards Road Women’s Group continually supports and develops important opportunities for local families and provides a wonderful haven in an area which sadly faces social deprivation.

      “We know that children in Northern Ireland are among the least active in the UK and something ought to be done to stop the increase in childhood obesity. This new playground encourages children to exercise and get active, all whilst having good fun, from a young age.

      “The Community Fund has once again demonstrated that Belfast City Airport is committed to the local community and wants to encourage young people in their personal growth and development.”

      Each week, up to 100 children ranging from 0- 12 years old use the early years or afterschool services.

      For more information on how to apply to the Belfast City Airport Community Fund, please contact: 


      Stephen Patton with Jack, Skye and Kailey Leigh