Portacabins and derelict ground have made way for a new state of the art community hub near Portadown as Seagoe Football Club achieves a long-held goal of opening a new facility on the site of its pitch and former clubrooms.
The project which received initial funding of £349,521 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Space & Place Programme is one of the first steps which the club hopes will act as a catalyst for regeneration of the area. The community became disconnected after it was impacted by the introduction of the motorway running through the area in the 1970’s.
Thanks to National Lottery players, people living in the community are now set to benefit from a new space which will play host to a number of activities including; training courses, leisure classes, social gatherings and football matches. There are already plans for an evening of dance bringing a range of local people together.
The new facility provides a space that Seagoe FC hopes will be able to help the community tackle a number of issues including social isolation whilst enhancing community cohesion in the area. The project also received support from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council.
Speaking at the opening of the new Community Hub, Val Russell from Seagoe FC said: “We now have a modern purpose built space for all the community, a long way from the dark, damp portacabins that were previously here. The new facility has a main hall, meeting/committee room, fully functional kitchen, ladies, gents and accessible toilets.
“This is a much needed space for the rural community of Seagoe, Tarsan, Derryvore, Carn and Ballynacor, where they can come and take part in activities, meet up with their neighbors and interact in a safe neutral environment,” said Val.
Michael Hughes Space & Place Co-ordinator said: “It is fantastic to see the wonderful and much-needed space which Seagoe FC has created for the whole community. One of the key aims of the Space & Place Programme is to help communities transform underused, neglected or difficult spaces.
“This project has exceeded our expectations in the range of issues it will help tackle for people living in the area - from isolation and lack of facilities right through to creating greater community connections. It really is an amazing space which we hope local people will benefit from for years to come.”
Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair said: “We’re excited to see this facility, which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, make a real difference to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area that they live in.”