Sporting Community celebrates success of £15million pitches strategy
27 Sep 2018
Belfast’s sporting community came together at Cherryvale playing fields today to celebrate the completion of Belfast City Council’s £15 million pitches strategy.
Council has invested £14m and the GAA contributed £1.1m to improving facilities at 10 sites across Belfast since the strategy was agreed in 2012, including new 3G pitches and changing pavilions.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: “As part of our Belfast Agenda, we’re committed to improving the health and wellbeing of residents, addressing health inequalities and reducing social isolation; so our pitches strategy, along with our £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme, is an important element to achieving those goals, creating state-of-the-art facilities to encourage participation and promote an active, healthy lifestyle for citizens.”
As well as improving council facilities, £750,000 was given to six schools in the city to improve their sporting facilities to encourage greater community use.
“There’s no doubt that we punch above our weight when it comes to sporting success, but continued success requires strong grassroots investment,” Councillor Hargey added.
“One of our main objectives was to work with various sectors and sporting organisations to develop these hybrid pitches - Sport NI, governing bodies, sports leagues and clubs, and the Education Authority – to encourage shared use of space and maximise their use, and I’m pleased to say this has been a huge success.”
Alderman Jim Rodgers, Chair of the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee added: “I’m delighted that so many sports clubs across the city and beyond will be making use of these new facilities. To have their support is crucial and I’m pleased that they fed into the strategy, helping to fine-tune the details of the improvements that have been carried out.”
In total, Council is responsible for 128 sports pitches and playing fields in Belfast, spread across 28 sites.
Cherryvale is the last of the 10 sites to have benefitted from Council’s £15m capital investment, and to mark the completion of the works, senior representatives from Belfast City Council, GAA, IFA and IRFU, as well as Friends of Cherryvale representatives, watched as young people tried out the new pitches for themselves today.
Michael Hasson, President of Ulster GAA, said: “I’m pleased that we have been able to contribute to the investment in these sporting facilities. It’s so important that our young players have high quality facilities for both training and play, and I’m delighted that the GAA has had a role in the successful completion of Belfast City Council’s pitches strategy.
“We warmly welcome this, and look forward to working with the Council to develop new sporting programmes in the future.”