Published Friday, 19 October 2012
The new Siege Heroes Museum and Shared Space visitor centre in Londonderry will teach schoolchildren about the siege of Derry and the cash will also go towards refurbishing the existing memorial hall.
Jim Brownlee, Governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, said he feels the organisation has a story for people to take home and tell others.
"It's important that particularly the younger generations gain an understanding of first of all why there's an Apprentice Boys association, why there was a siege so many years ago and indeed what consequences came out of that.
"We feel we have got something very positive to offer and something very new as well in terms of an education and heritage centre," Mr Brownlee added.
Shaun Henry, who helps manage the European fund, said: "Upon completion the new visitor's centre and refurbished memorial hall will enable the Apprentice Boys of Derry to promote mutual respect and tolerance, with all sections of society through a greater understanding of our shared past."
Colum Eastwood, SDLP MLA, said the secured funding is a great achievement and a good news story for the city.
"The development of the Heritage Centre and Cross-Community Centre will add a further layer to our growing local tourism infrastructure. This will be very important as we strive to create a vibrant cultural hub at the heart of our city centre.
"These centres will hopefully promote a better understanding of our shared and diverse history, particularly for our young.
The Department of Social Development and the Republic's Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government have part funded the centre, which has also had assistance from the NI Tourist Board and the Apprentice Boys.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: "This project will promote a shared and better future by presenting an informed view of an historic chapter in the history of Londonderry.
"It will also encourage greater levels of mutual respect as it enables the Apprentice Boys of Derry to reach out to more people from across the whole community both here in Northern Ireland and beyond."
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