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New Sports Hall opens in Greencastle 09.02.10

by Linda McGrory

GROWN-UPS and children in east Inishowen have no excuse for not getting fit and healthy following the opening of a fantastic new community Sports Hall in Greencastle.
The state-of-the-art sports facility is the culmination of 20 years' work by the local Greencastle Community Development Company Ltd., who have battled long and hard to secure grants and finance for the much-needed amenity.
Whether it's indoor soccer, volleyball, basketball, badminton or table tennis, the 600 sq metres hall can accommodate it all. In fact, it only takes a group of friends or a club to get together, divide the modest 40-an-hour fee between them, and the committee will let you run anything from jive to juggling. Also coming soon, is a fully-equipped upstairs gym and fitness suite complete with treadmills and other equipment.
Greencastle Community Sports Hall recently hosted its first children's birthday party with full use of the spacious kitchen. People will soon be allowed to hire bouncy castles for birthdays too and inflate them in the huge hall - ideal for those rainy days of summer.
Greencastle Community Development Company Ltd., chairperson, Seamus Bovaird said the possibilities for the new hall were endless. He said the committee was delighted the facility had finally come to fruition for the people of the area and especially young people who now have somewhere safe to socialise and
stay active.
"Our catchment area is quite large and would span from Greencastle up to about Redcastle and over to Carrowmenagh. The more people use it the better," said Seamus, who hoped several expressions of interest in badminton, would soon culminate in a badminton night.
"The hall is open six days a week including Saturdays and most evenings are busy."
Seamus explained that getting the facility to its current phase cost more than 270,000 of which 210,000 was capital sports grants and the remainder, local contributions.
He said they were among the first to benefit from a social finance bridging loan of 230,000 from the Ulster Community Investment Trust. (UCIT) which facilitated the completion of the hall phase.
Greencastle Youth Club secretary, Danny Farren said the club's 75 young charges are thrilled with the new hall. He said the facility came in particularly useful for the youngsters when almost everything else in the locality came to a standstill during the recent big freeze. He singled out Inishowen Development Partnership youth officer Sean McGrory, Donegal Youth Service and Peace III facilitators as instrumental in the ongoing development of sports initiatives at the hall.
"It's a fantastic facility for everyone in the community. Currently, you can play soccer, basketball and volleyball. There are four badminton courts and a full-size indoor football pitch," said Danny, who works, by day, as an electronics technician in the University of Ulster at Magee.
"Boxercise, circuit training and martial arts along with many other things are in the pipeline," added the enthusiastic youth leader. Danny said that adult regulars to the hall so far include Carrowmenagh Football Club, Moville Rowing Club, a non-contact boxing club from Gleneely and local GAA members.
The next phase of development will be the almost-complete gym that will be funded by the local Salmon Hardship Fund. There will also be a new office that will be rented out to the Loughs Agency as well as two new units for the Irish-language pre-school, Naiscoil Cois Feabhail and the English-language preschool Greencastle Community Childcare. The new preschool units will be part-funded by the International Fund for Ireland. If you or your club would like to book Greencastle Sports Hall or if you want more information, please call 07493 81054.
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