Sunday, July 21, 2024
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    RIOT in Dundrum held a grand opening event on Thursday, 2 June, to mark the opening of their new play park. Located at 7 Manse Road, Dundrum, the playground equipment is open to the public. “We had an incredible grand opening. The whole community came out. We had about 500 people. It was absolutely beyond our expectations. We had a lovely day. The weather held out,” Richie Shilliday said. Richie and his wife Jen Shilliday run the RIOT Youth Centre and Joy Café in the village. During the free grand opening event, there were family activities, including face painting by Clough resident Lesley Craig, a bouncy castle, a barbecue, a puppet show by Co Down-based God’s Handiwork Puppets, Brennan’s ice cream and coffee from local business Lis Mocha, based in Ballykinler. “We served over 400 ice creams,” Richie said, adding that they also gave away more than 350 burgers. Former BBC news anchor Noel Thompson cut the ribbon to mark the official grand opening. There was no entry fee for the event, but people could bring food to donate to the local food bank. RIOT runs a small food bank in cooperation with The Pantry Foodbank in Newcastle. Richie said people were very generous with their donations. “Our food bank has been packed full at the minute,” he said. He said they will be taking several carloads of the donated food items to The Pantry this week for them to distribute to the community as needed. The play park will be accessible from both the front of the property and from the back laneway. Currently there are no set opening hours, but RIOT will try to have the playground open often this summer. They hope that many children will come and use the equipment and that it will serve as a place for people to connect with their neighbours. “RIOT is open to everyone. We have a policy that we welcome and serve the village of Dundrum,” Jen Shilliday told the Mourne Observer. The play equipment was constructed by Co Downbased NI Climbing Frames. The other groundworks were done by local tradespeople. The project was paid for by RIOT through various fundraising and donations that made it possible. “We have now spent over £30,000 upgrading the outside facilities,” Jen said. Jen said she and Richie would like to thank all those who have supported RIOT over the years to enable this to happen. “A massive thank you to the Dundrum Development Association that made a generous donation to allow us to get the playground and other pieces finalised,” she said. For more information about RIOT or the new play park, email or visit RIOTDundrum.

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