£440k of Department for Communities funding for the the Strathfoyle Greenway project, announced this week, will bolster Derry City & Strabane's case for Phase VII WHO Healthy City designation.

Developing Healthy Communities manages the city and district's membership of the Healthy Cities programme. Investment in green infrastructure is a key pillar in Derry City & Strabane's application for designation in the latest phase. The Council's Health and Community Committee endorsed the Healthy Cities application in September.

The application reads: "As a city and district we will pursue projects that connect existing green infrastructure to community resources and popular recreational destinations, creating new green infrastructure and connecting existing routes... ...Existing green infrastructure is already well used both for recreation and travel by individuals and by community groups, highlighting how accessible green infrastructure can provide health and economic benefits across society."

The 2.7km extension to the popular Waterside Greenway will link Stradowen Drive in Strathfoyle to Derry city centre and the wider greenway network. It will also provide a commuting route to Foyle Port and Maydown. The greenway is being developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with the Department for Communities, the Department for Infrastructure and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Construction is due to commence early in 2022 and be completed by late 2022.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey says: "The investment will enable local residents to lead a healthier active lifestyle through physical and outdoor activity and also provide greater connectivity between local communities and the city centre."

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke adds: "It will be a demonstration of how this kind of infrastructure can be built with people, biodiversity and climate change at its heart. I look forward to using the greenway when it opens next summer. I believe it will play a pivotal role in connecting communities in the Waterside to the city centre and inspiring people to change the way they commute."