PRESS STATEMENT ON OFFICIAL OPENING OF CASTLE SAUNDERSON INTERNATIONAL SCOUT CENTRE
18th August 2012
PRESIDENT OF IRELAND IS JOINED BY CHIEF SCOUT OF SCOUTING IRELAND WITH MINISTERS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER FOR OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF
EU FUNDED SCOUTING PROJECT
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has met with the Chief Scout of Scouting Ireland Michael John Shinnick, Northern Ireland Executive Ministers Nelson McCausland, Jonathan Bell, Jennifer McCann and Minister Fergus O Dowd from the Irish Government to officially launch the European Union funded Castle Saunderson project in County Cavan, Ireland.
In receipt of £3million (€3.45 million) in funding from the EU’s PEACE III Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), the project has created a 30 acre multi-activity adventure centre, just outside Cavan. The new ‘Castle Saunderson International Scout Centre’includes fully equipped indoor facilities as well as a Jamboree site, capable of accommodating up to 1,000 people at any given time.
Welcoming the project Junior Minister Jonathan Bell, MLA said: “This is an extremely important project that will bring together a new generation of young people in a spirit of mutual cooperation. In using the centre they will be able to recognise and celebrate their differences as well as develop leadership skills that will help them in later life.
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann, MLA who also spoke at the launch said: “This is an excellent cross-border initiative which will not only benefit children from many different communities and backgrounds, but also serve to enhance the local economy through the provision of additional employment and increased tourism potential.”
Recognising the importance of the new centre, Nelson McCausland Social Development Minister, said: “This new PEACE III supported facility will not only help revitalise the local area but also instil leadership and teambuilding skills within all the children who use it, now and in the future. By encouraging young people to learn new skills and interact with others outside of their own community we will be helping to build a more tolerant and trusting society.”
Match-funding for the project was provided by the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, in Ireland.
Officially welcoming the project Jack Keyes, County Manager with Cavan County Council which project managed the design and construction, said: “This is a great project which will help to improve the lives of local people. The new centre will make a most welcome addition to the greater Cavan area and has significant potential to create new employment and tourism opportunities”.
Located within the border region of Ireland, between Cavan, Fermanagh and Monaghan, the centre will encourage greater levels of interaction from young people from different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
In addition to attracting young people from a scouting background, the project also intends to encourage visits from young people from a wide-range of youth based organisations and schools from across Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Project partners include Cavan County Council, the Scouting Association for Northern Ireland and Scouting Ireland. Commenting on the successful completion of the project Michael John Shinnick, Chief Scout, from Scouting Ireland said: “The successful completion of this project, with EU assistance, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of many different people. It has been years in the making but the results speak for themselves. The new facility has already received international recognition and will be declared a‘World Peace Centre’ by the World Scout Foundation”.
Welcoming the project Colin Lammey, Chief Commissioner with the Scout Association Northern Ireland (SANI), said: “I am delighted to see the completion of this project which will positively shape the lives of thousands of children and young adults across Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Scouting movement has a long and proud tradition of helping young people achieve their full potential and become responsible citizens. The new purpose built facility will allow this tradition to continue and ensure future generations learn the leadership, self-reliance and teambuilding skills that scouts are famous for, across the world.”
Congratulating all those involved in the project, Pat Colgan Chief Executive of the SEUPB, said: “This project has been supported under the creating shared public spaces priority of the EU’s PEACE III Programme. This priority provides support to projects that create shared neutral spaces which allow people from different communities to come together and learn from each other. Castle Saunderson is an excellent example of this as it will help foster new and positive relationships amongst all of the young people who use it.”
It is anticipated that over 12,000 young people from an extremely diverse range of backgrounds will use the facility within its first year.
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