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£1.4m 3G multi-sport facility for Melvin progressing well

16 January 2018

Work on the new £1.4m multi-sport 3G facility at Melvin in Strabane is progressing well with works expected to be completed by early 2018, Derry City and Strabane District Council has revealed this week.

Council has committed £1.4m towards replacing the existing sand synthetic pitch and grass football pitch with a new multi-sport surface that will primarily cater for football, rugby and Gaelic sport in the Strabane area. While some minor operational issues have caused some minor delays to the works programme and it is expected to be completed early this year.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh explained that the project has been in the planning for a number of years and marks another significant investment by Council on sports and recreational facilities in the city and district.

He explained: “This was historically a legacy Strabane Council project, however is now being developed by Derry City and Strabane District at a cost of approximately £1,413,200.00 made up of £590,200 of external funding secured from the Department for Communities’ Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund and £823,000 from Council. Community groups representing the residents of the Strabane Neighbourhood Renewal area have welcomed the progression of this project and are already planning a programme of activities to be run at the new facilities which will result in increased participation and health for all.  The project represents a further commitment by the Council to provide state of the art sports and recreational facilities for local clubs and the wider community and we are confident that when completed, the new 3G pitch provision will promote Melvin Sports Complex as a hub for sporting activities, encouraging healthier and more active lifestyles for users.

“This is a hugely important project for Strabane, that will not only address the issue of pitch provision in the area, but also allows to achieve our objectives to encourage increased participation in sports and allow us to develop a facility that can be used all year round for training and competitive games. It can also be used to promote and develop social and partnership engagement between the various sports clubs and cross community interaction.”

Karen McFarland, Director for Health and Communities at Derry City and Strabane District Council added: “This project follows on from £2.2 million of investment in 2014 of major refurbishment works at Melvin Sports Complex and this additional investment will complement the current facilities that include a Sports Hall, Studios, Conference Rooms, Cryospa, Soft Play, Play Park, MUGA, tennis court, and Running track. The investment is also in addition to over £60,000 to upgrade the Arena Grass Pitch and Changing provision at Melvin Sports Complex that now meets the criteria for intermediate standard football.”

Kevin Doherty, Irish Football Association, Grassroots Development Officer says the new developments at Melvin will be an excellent resource for soccer clubs.

“All clubs in the region are reporting an increase in membership especially amongst their youth ranks and facilities such as the development of the Multi Sports 3G at Melvin Sports Complex are essential to meet the increased training and match day needs. The IFA have been aware of the potential for this project since 2014 and congratulate those involved in bringing it to fruition. It will be an excellent addition and in line with the IFA’s ‘let them play’ strategy it will provided an opportunity for more people to be more active more often.”

While Michael Cooke from Sports NI said that the addition of 3G facilities at Melvin was great news for local soccer, rugby and Gaelic sports clubs and will go some way to addressing the shortfall identified in Sport Northern Ireland’s Bridging the Gap report. He says: “This investment will provide a great venue for a multi-sport hub and the provision of new diverse multi-sport facilities for young people to get a better all-round sport experience.”

From a GAA perspective, Stephen McGeehan from the UIster Council said that Ulster GAA are delighted such a facility will be available in North Tyrone. The new pitch will be used by the Province, County and local clubs as well as schools and colleges across the nine counties while the Ulster GAA will use it for its inter county and inter club matches in football and hurling while it will be utilised for coach development, referee education courses and fitness testing.

“The specifications of the pitch make it accessible for all our competitive games up to senior inter-county level. Our clubs in North Tyrone and in the neighbouring counties of Donegal and Derry will see the development as an important additional resource for their weekly coaching and games development programmes which involves participants from under 6 to senior level and whenever their own facilities are unavailable.”

Ends