New Saintfield Community Centre Now Open
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey officially opened the new £1.4 million Saintfield Community Centre on Thursday 26 June in a ceremony attended by MLAs, councillors and community representatives.
The new centre incorporates a large indoor 3G pitch, complete with four changing rooms. The aim is to provide first class training facilities that will help raise the skill levels of local athletes and put Saintfield on the map as a centre of sporting excellence.
The centre’s main hall, studio and meeting room will host a wide range of activities to meet the needs of the Saintfield community and surrounding area and, most importantly, raise health and wellbeing levels.
The Council wanted a flagship community centre that would utilise renewable energy where possible and limit the amount of fossil fuel energy sources. The new centre will therefore become the most energy efficient centre within the district, with the provision of solar PV panels to provide electricity to run electrical equipment and LED lighting. In addition, air source heat pumps run from the PV panels to heat the building and water.
Newry, Mourne and Down Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “One of the Council’s key aims is to provide high quality community facilities and to explore partnership opportunities to ensure sustainability of Community Services. We also aim to build community capacity to empower local people to effect change within their communities.
“This beautiful state-of-the-art building is an excellent example of partnership working between statutory and voluntary groups.”
Jerome Burns from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said, “The Department’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) aims to improve the quality of life and services for those in rural communities. It is encouraging to see the completion of this new facility which provides a state of the art community hub to allow the Saintfield Community Trust, in conjunction with the relevant bodies and agencies, to deliver a wide range of programmes to help improve the welfare and access to basic services of those living in the Saintfield area.”
Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Chairperson of the RDP Local Action Group said, “The Local Action Group is delighted to have awarded a significant investment towards the Saintfield Community Centre. The completed facility is a fantastic example of how multiple groups and organisations can work collaboratively to provide a hub that will develop the social and physical attributes of all user groups for many years to come. The funds provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Commission provides rural dwellers of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council a real opportunity to gain access to a range of services.”
Councillor Terry Andrews, Vice Chairperson of the PEACE IV Partnership said, “This project has been delivered under the Shared Spaces and Services theme which aims to create a more cohesive society through an increased provision of shared spaces and services. We certainly hope that the new Saintfield Community Centre will provide a neutral, shared community space which will improve mutual understanding and build bridges between people of different community backgrounds.”
Damian Scarlett, Chairperson of Saintfield Community Trust said, “This is the beginning of a new era for the community of Saintfield. We now have excellent facilities within our doorstep that will be a benefit to all. It was a long and hard road to bring this project to a close and although I speak to you today as the chair of Saintfield Community Trust, we must pay tribute to the volunteers of the Saintfield Development Association who were the driving force for the community at the beginning.”
The new centre will be managed by the Saintfield Community Trust through a Facility Management Agreement with the council.