THE new state of the art astro-turf pitch was officially launched at Milford Hall yesterday following a €135,945.47 capital investment.
The existing all-weather pitch, which had lain idle behind the Milford Hall for the best part of a decade, has gotten a new lease of life and been transformed into a top of the range astro-turf playing facility. The development works involved the overlaying of a synthetic astro-turf carpet on the existing surface as well as drainage works, fencing, additional flood lights and portable goal posts.
The innovative project was spearheaded by the Milford Hall Committee who wanted to provide an accessible amenity to the local rural population that would improve the quality of life of rural dwellers and enhance the social attractiveness of the local area. The new pitch has become a hive of activity for young – and not so young – in the local community.
Donegal Local Development Company through the ‘Village Renewal & Development’ measure of the Leader Programme contributed funding of €96,912.55 to the project at a grant rate of 72% with the Milford Hall Committee contributing €39,032.92 of its own funding to the project. The existing infrastructure meant that the scale of investment for a project of this nature was significantly less than it would be for a green field site, thus representing excellent value for money.
Speaking at the launch John Starrett, Board Director of Donegal Local Development Company Ltd. said “DLDC is delighted to be associated with the Milford Hall Committee and was very pleased to assist with Leader funding for this community facility. In delivering LEADER, the Board of DLDC has taken the approach of prioritising projects which assist in the diversifying the Rural Economy, and in turn, improving the quality of life for rural dwellers. This project is an excellent example of how funding for community initiatives can improve and benefit the local area.”
Paddy Harte, Board Member of Ulster Investment Community Trust congratulated the Milford community for their vision, energy and commitment in developing this very impressive community facility and added: “We, at UCIT are a community organisation supporting other community organisations through our loan facilities. The success of UCIT is dependent on the success of projects such as this one in Milford as it in turn, makes it possible for us to make loan funds available to other community organisations. I would like to acknowledge the very successful partnership we enjoy with Donegal Local Development Company.”
Reverend James Gillespie, former Chairperson of the Milford Hall Committee said “the town had no usable all weather sports facilities. The existing all weather facility was developed over 10 years ago but its use has been minimal in the past 5 years or more, due to health & safety concerns surrounding the basalt quarry dust top layer, which was abrasive and unsuitable for younger children, in particular. The upgraded facility has greatly improved its value as an amenity for the wider community and interest groups and has greatly enhanced participation in sport by young people, in particular.”
Joe Ferry thanked everyone in attendance and added: “The Milford Hall Committee would like to sincerely thank DLDC, in particular, for helping us to realise this project, not just through their funding of it under the Leader Programme, but also for their highly professional & collaborative approach at all stages.
“We would also like to express our deep gratitude to CS Architecture and McHugh Bros Construction, including the various specialists engaged by them, for delivering the state-of-the art infrastructure we see before us today. In many ways, we see it as a symbol of hope for a brighter future for the young people in the wider Milford Community.”
The astro-turf pitch was then blessed and officially opened by Reverend James Gillespie.
Back Row (L-R) DLDC Directors: Joe Boland, Michael Mullan, John Cannon, Anne McHugh (Chief Execuive Donegal ETB) Máire Nic...