WORK is well and truly under way to make the Falls Park/ City Cemetery Masterplan a reality.

The £6 million investment in the park, City Cemetery and surrounding areas aims to provide better facilities for the local community and make the area more attractive, safe and welcoming for everyone.

Councillor Stevie Corr, who chairs the Masterplan project, said: “We have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People Programme to develop a large scale heritage project in the City Cemetery.

“The project is designed to protect, enhance and maximise the heritage and biodiversity potential of the cemetery and enable more people to access and understand it. This work has involved a number of projects including developing a visitor and community space, restoring key heritage assets, telling the stories of the site and developing promotional activities.”

So far the completed projects are: the Belfast Blitz memorial refurbishment; the refurbishment of the City Cemetery office; the ‘Forget Me Not’ sculpture; young adults area; Falls Park playground; allotment site; community garden; playground and multi-use games area; car parking facilities; Glór na Móna school building.

Cllr Corr continued: “It’s about getting people into the park not keeping them out, there is something very satisfying about seeing our community enjoying these first rate facilities.

“We have many ongoing projects such as the 3G hybrid pitch and changing pavilion, a permanent memorial at Plot Z1 (Baby Plot) This has been used as a public grave for the burial of both adults and babies.”

And he outlined further progress that he said is great news for the people of West Belfast and for the Falls Park as a popular community facility.

“We also have the Whiterock community corridor. We are working to improve the environment around Whiterock leisure centre, providing new facilities, increasing community activity and participation and encouraging people to use services. Work is ongoing and so far we have developed a new playground, a multi-use games area, a car park, Glór na Móna school buildings and a landscaped open space. We have also completed community gardens and allotments at the site.”

Still to come in the Masterplan is work on the Commonwealth War Graves, the new service yard, the redevelopment of Fox’s Lodge, the Falls Park Gate Lodge redevelopment and environmental upgrades, including drainage.

Cllr Corr added: “These are very exciting times for the people of West Belfast who will soon be able to avail of a range of top class facilities right here on their own doorstep.”