A brand new history trail has been launched in the Heights and Killowen area of Coleraine, aimed at bringing the local community closer together.
Developed and designed by Groundwork Northern Ireland’s project and landscape departments, the new trail sweeps round the area and comprises specially created plaques, created by community artist Lucy Turner, featuring aspects of local culture and history.
New viewing points have also been installed, providing wonderful vistas of the Coleraine landscape, in an area that has suffered serious conflict in the past.
Funded through the Reconciling Communities Through Regeneration Programme (RCTR), a three-year strategic regional initiative working in ten selected communities of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, £50,000 pounds has been invested in the Coleraine project.
The programme has received PEACE III funding under Priority 1 Reconciling Communities, Theme 1 Building Positive Relations at the Local Level and is designed to enhance the quality of life for people living in communities through actions to reduce sectarianism and racism.
Children from St John’s Primary and Killowen primary schools, helped develop the trail, which was supported by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Coleraine Borough Council.
Sean Curran, Senior Project Development Officer from Groundwork Northern Ireland, told The Times: “The new trail will leave a positive and lasting mark on the area.
“It’s incredible to see the amount of work that has gone into the development of the trail and it really has been a partnership effort, with all the different agencies involved pulling together to make it the wonderful creation it has become.
“You only need take one look at the new trail to see all this effort has paid off in spades -sharing the past has definitely been key to taking this community forward for the future!”
Community representative Sammy McGrath is delighted with the new installation: “My family is one of the oldest families in Killowen.
“I am very proud to be involved in the history trail and it is a fitting tribute to the older generation.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the project.”
Killowen PS principal Arleen Moon, said: “Both Killowen and St John’s are delighted to have participated in the development of this history trail, which will be enjoyed by all our children for years to come.
“This trail will be greatly enhanced by the use of the extremely relevant and practical teaching resources.”
As well as the £50,000 directly invested in the project through the Reconciling Communities Through Regeneration Programme, hundreds of hours of time from the children, their teachers and community activists and volunteers was also invested.