The new play park at Slieve Gullion won a NITB award last week. The award was in the category of Tourism Partner Initiative. The development of the project was led by Mrs Julie Mc Cann of Newry & Mourne District Council who worked closely with a wide range of local partners to establish the high quality adventure park. The partners in this scheme included Sticky fingers Arts Organisation, Forestry Service, The Clanyre Groups, Newry and Mourne Senior Citizens Consortium, youth groups and local primary schools. The project was funded by CASA, SOAR and N&MDC.
The aims were to develop the tourism product base in South Armagh in a way that met the needs of the local community and visitors alike. It was hoped to increase visitors to South Armagh by at least 2,000 in the first two year period but in reality the park was receiving approximately 2,000 visitors per day July and August 2012.
All of the play equipment was designed to blend with the natural environment and to promote exercise. It also helps children develop their physical co-ordination skills and through adventurous elements, supports natural risk taking.
Due to the increase in visitor numbers and the huge success of the project the council is opening a tourist information point aimed at maximising the potential of the whole South Armagh and wider Newry and Mourne area.
The judges thought there were clear benefits to all parties and were impressed with the project’s ethos that play is central to the development of good physical and mental health. This could be the first of two awards for the park as it has also been shortlisted for a UK Green Apple Award under the category Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Swindon at the end of June