New Children’s Indoor Play Area brings fun factor to Dairy Farm Shopping Centre
The Children’s Indoor Play Area, called Roar and Explore, will be located in the existing community hall at the Dairy Farm Shopping Centre with access through the front of the centre and main mall. The brand-new facility will boast 3 party rooms, a café, a 3-tier soft play area and a toddler and baby area all with a jungle theme throughout. The lower tier of the soft play area will also be interactive with disability access. In the evenings the facility will be available for community events, training and seminars.
Construction is due for completion in December 2017. The bespoke play frame has been specifically designed for the area by leading manufacturer SPI Global Play.
This announcement follows the acquisition of Dairy Farm Shopping Centre by The Ortus Group.
Seamus O’Prey, Ortus CEO commented,
“Dairy Farm is a prime location and we are excited by the growing opportunities available to us with the acquisition. We want to make this centre a place for the entire community to feel a part of and bring in visitors from across Northern Ireland. The first step is this development of the soft play area. There is a gap in the market in the Greater Belfast area for a central indoor play space that is exciting and different for children while also assisting parents with a range of advice sessions and support. We are currently working with several suppliers for the construction and will be recruiting from the local area for a variety of roles.”
The Indoor Play Area will initially bring 15 new jobs to the local area including management and catering roles. The business will be set up as a social enterprise with all profits being invested back into the area and community projects, through The Ortus Group.
In line with this, The Ortus Group ran a local school competition to design and name the Play Area mascot which will form a central part of the brand. The winner was Oisin McGloin from Lady Queen of Peace with Roary The Lion.
Catherine McClelland, Play Area Project Manager commented:
“From the start, we want to involve the local community in the heart of the project. The Play Area’s aim is to be a community hub, offering a wide range of activities for children up to the age of 11 plus additional support for parents. Therefore, it was important to us that the children who will be visiting the area feel involved and the competition to name the mascot felt like the perfect way to start the project. We are looking forward to revealing the winning entry final mascot with Roar and Explore’s launch.”
Roar and Explore is primarily funded by The Ortus Group with additional grants from both the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Groundworks NI Alpha Programme.
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive have contributed £50k towards the project and Housing Executive Social Enterprise Liaison Manager Paul Carland said;
“We are committed to building vibrant and self-sustaining communities throughout our housing stock and these investments are a valuable means of doing so.
By helping address issues of employability, the environment and building inward investments locally, we hope that our tenants’ quality of life and that of the wider community will be enhanced.”
The Alpha Programme, managed by Groundwork NI, has also contributed £50k towards the community elements of the refurbishment. Richard Rogers, Alpha Programme added
“The Alpha Programme is delighted to support the development of this innovative community facility at the Dairy Farm. We hope that this project will act as a catalyst for further regeneration in the area, and that it provides an attractive venue for community activities, alongside its use as an indoor play area”
For more information on this press release, please contact Sheila Harper, Marketing and Communication Executive. Email: [email protected] or Tel: 028 9031 1002
Image 1 – Noel Rooney, Ortus Property Development Executive, Catherine McClelland, Roar and Explore Project Manager and Conor Smith, Housing Executive System Manager Social Investment Team with the plans for Roar and Explore