Investment needed for £2m sports hub

Ricky Lutton addressing the attendees during the consultation.
Ricky Lutton addressing the attendees during the consultation.

Plans for a dedicated community sports hub in Ballyclare took a step closer to fruition as local clubs showed their support for the scheme.

Over 70 representatives from sports and community groups attended a public consultation at Ballyclare Rugby Club to hear about the ambitious initiative, ‘The Cloughan Project.’

The project would see facilities at the rugby club upgraded as well as creating new sports provision at the Doagh Road venue.

These would include an artificial hockey pitch, 3G pitch, a walking/running trail and a gym with specialist Disability Sport NI approved equipment.

The proposals to upgrade the facilities have been discussed for many years and form part of the rugby club’s five-year development plan, which was published in 2016.

If the proposals are backed by the community, they would require significant external investment.

Cloughan Project Committee member, Ricky Lutton, said: “We’re calling on local sports clubs to contact us and show there’s a need for these facilities in the town.

“We had representatives from Ballyclare Ladies’ Hockey Club, Ballyclare Colts FC, Templepatrick Cricket Club and Co Antrim Harriers at the consultation. We received positive feedback from the interested parties.

“The proposals would cost in the region of £1.6m to £2m. We could get up to £1m from Sport NI, but this would require an additional £200,000 to be match funded to receive this grant.

“This and the rest could be raised from within the clubs, other grant opportunities, business support and possibly investment from the council.

“If the plans get the go ahead, this would be very beneficial for the whole town.

“The project would provide somewhere for people from all abilities and backgrounds to come together to enjoy sports.”

An online survey seeking the views of local residents will be launched by the organisers in the coming weeks.

For more information about the community sports hub, check out The Cloughan Project Facebook page or email thecloughanproject@gmail.com