Belfast GAA Club Naomh Pól CLG Celebrates Opening of New Sport NI-Supported Facility

Sport Northern Ireland Chair George Lucas was among those in attendance to mark the opening of a new facility at Belfast’s Naomh Pól CLG on Saturday (4th November).

The project emerged out of the club’s successful Juvenile Development Programme that started nearly 10 years ago. While the Programme has reaped rewards for the club in terms of producing new talent in Ulster, and bringing an influx of new members it also created a logistical problem for the club in terms of how to ensure access to quality facilities for training and matches. Acknowledging this, Naomh Pól CLG developed a five-year capital development plan to bring the club facilities up to modern standards and to add training capacity to reduce the need and expense of using external facilities.

The plans included a floodlit 3G training area and a significant upgrade to the spectator terracing and car parking provision. In addition, and following extensive consultation with key stakeholders, Naomh Pól CLG secured the necessary funding to take the plan from theory to reality. The project budget of c.£390k was secured to facilitate the build. £150k was secured through the Department for Communities Building Successful CommunitiesProgramme, £100k was secured through Sport Northern Ireland’s National Lottery-funded Single Facility Fund and £70k secured through Belfast City Council’s Local Investment Fund.

The facilities which can be used by the local community as well as Naomh Pól CLG members represents significant investment not only in Gaelic games but also the local area and the young people who live there.

Speaking at the official opening of the new facilities, Naomh Pól CLG Chairperson, Kieran Cooper said:

“We are delighted to officially open our new facilities to the general public after many years of hard work and consultation with key stakeholders in GAA circles and within the local community. The new facility will enable Naomh Pól CLG to continue its rapid growth of our games, particularly juvenile development and cement closer links with the local community and local schools. Naomh Pól has been at the heart of the Shaw’s road community for over 40 years and we are delighted that we can continue to make a contribution to community life in the area with facilities that are second to none for our young people. It is also highly rewarding for the coaching teams who have put in so much hard work over the years to have facilities that can support their efforts more effectively. I would like to say particular thanks to the Department for Communities, Sport NI and National Lottery players and Belfast City Council as well as our advisors and political representatives who are never found wanting. This project was not possible without each of you – GRMA.”

Sport Northern Ireland Chair George Lucas added:

“Sports clubs like Naomh Pól CLG are at the heart of making sport happen within local communities. That’s why Sport NI, thanks to the support of National Lottery players, is so pleased to have helped to deliver these new facilities through our investment and the expertise of our staff. The club has been doing outstanding work within the local area to engage people, particularly women and young people, to get involved in sport. The new facilities will help them continue this work to help people enjoy all the benefits that come from an active lifestyle, and to do so in a more accessible and efficient way. We look forward to seeing the impact of the project in encouraging more people here to enjoy, engage and excel in sport.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities said:

“Lenadoon and Glencolin is one of six areas that are included in the Building Successful Communities pilot programme.  One of the things we are aiming to achieve with this programme is improve the local environment upgrading and access to amenities in order to unlock physical and social regeneration.  This project, which was identified by the Lenadoon and Glencolin Regeneration Forum as being a priority for the area, will help to achieve this by contributing to both physical regeneration and the improvement of infrastructure in the area.  The Department wishes St Pauls GAC every success with their new facilities.”

Councillor Stephen Magennis, Chair of the West Belfast Area Working Group, which awarded £70,000 through Belfast City Council’s Local Investment Fund (LIF), said: “LIF funding is aimed at making a difference within communities and by supporting this project the council is supporting young people and other members of the community to develop sporting skills, keep fit and improve health benefits throughout the area. Sport is a unifying force and the improvement of facilities for both players and spectators will hopefully intensify that force throughout the community encouraging self-respect, ambition, team work and appreciation of the community and environment,” added Councillor Magennis.

Pictured at the event is Kieran Cooper, Chairman St Paul’s GAC, Michael Hasson, Ulster GAA, Brian Fenton, Dublin GAA, George Lucas, Chair Sport NI.

 

Michael, Brian and George