The first sod has been cut on a new health and community club at Thomas Clarkes Gaelic Football Club in Dungannon.
And there for the occasion on Thursday was Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, whose Department has provided almost £1million Neighbourhood Renewal Funding for the project.
Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted that my Department is in a position to provide Neighbourhood Renewal Funding of £973,000 for this important and much needed Health and Community Hub at Thomas Clarkes GFC Dungannon.
“Today marks another step towards providing a state-of-the-art facility for the local community in Dungannon.
“The delivery of the project demonstrates the importance of working together with our partners including the club, who are investing £304,000, the Coalisland and Dungannon Neighbourhood Partnership and Mid Ulster District Council.
“My Department’s strategic objectives include helping develop local communities, building capacity and confidence while also improving the quality of life in the local area.
“This new facility will enhance the infrastructure, providing a safe, modern space for community based-activities that will contribute to improved health and wellbeing across the Dungannon area.”
The new hub will help to develop economic activity in a deprived neighbourhood, improve social conditions through better co-ordinated provision of a range of community-based activities and initiatives, and it will help to create an attractive, safe and sustainable environment in the locality through the physical regeneration and renewal of the area.
Chairman of Thomas Clarkes, John McNulty, commented: “The construction of this new community hub at Dungannon Clarkes will be transformational for the local community.
“The new, state-of-the-art modern and inclusive building will cater for so many groups including footballers, hurlers, musicians, dancers, community groups and schools. Currently the building is unfit for purpose hence the local community is restricted in its ability to meet, nurture and develop.
“We are so much looking forward to harnessing the potential we have ahead and are so grateful to the Department for Communities and Mid Ulster District Council in their support for the project without whom the hub would not be feasible.
“I would also like thank all within the local Dungannon community and wider afield who have helped make this happen through their continuous support and drive for an improved and better quality of life for us all.”
Welcoming the commencement of the work, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Córa Corry said: “I’m delighted that the council has been able to support a project like this which will create a hub for community and sports activity in the Dungannon, Ballysaggart and wider area and generate significant social value and community impact.
“Without this funding from the Department for Communities the current building would soon be unusable.
“Now, not only will the Dungannon Thomas Clarkes benefit from the new premises, but so too will local residents and other community and sporting organisations in the area.
“I look forward to following the progress of this project and viewing the new facilities upon completion.”