DONEGAL TIMES

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June 28th 2006

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St. John Bosco listed as
lottery grant winners

The St. John Bosco Athletic Club, in partnership with County Donegal VEC, was among the list of grant applications approved by the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourisms Lottery, as announced by Minister Mary Coughlan. The club has been allocated €170,000 to complete phase one of a three phase development that will see the all-weather area next to the Abbey Vocational School transformed into a state-of-the-art multi-sport training facility. This allocation is the second largest in County Donegal this year.
The facility is unique in that it is specifically designed as a training and teaching set-up which will be used to prepare teams, groups and individuals for competitive and recreational sports. The current sports facilities at the Abbey Vocational School include outdoor tennis/basketball courts, full size gaelic/soccer grass pitches and a well equipped sports gymnasium
The proposed project will enhance the facilities by including a 75 x 45m all-weather playing surface and over 2000m2 of synthetic tartan. The complete area will be flood-lit and security fenced. Additional storage, toilets and equipment to enhance the maximum usage of the venue will also be provided, and will include full size football, golf areas - and throwing recovery nets.
Following a comprehensive needs analysis by a selected steering group made up of members of the school staff (John Daly and Eamon Griffin), parents association (Angela Meaghan), the St. John Bosco AC (Eamon Harvey) and the architects for the project Laurence McMullin and Associates, the project received significant support from other clubs and societies in Donegal Town as well as the national governing bodies of blind and paralympic sports. The application was supported from the outset by the school through its board of management and principal Mrs. Mary Ann Kane. The Parents Association of the school was not just vocal in its support but also attended many meetings, including several with the VEC, School - and the Ministers department.
Minister Mary Coughlan was one of the group’s most vocal supporters and met with the club on several occasions. The Minister attended an open meeting of all concerned parties and insisted that she would be publicly supporting the project. The Minister’s office was always open to the steering group and she did much to ensure the project received a fair hearing when it reached the relevant department.
The application was presented to the Donegal Town Chamber Development Office and resulted in the community chamber lending its full support to the project.
In a statement to the Times, Mr. Eamon Harvey, recently retired head of Physical Education at the Abbey Vocational School, who has a long association with numerous sports, locally and nationally, said, “The proposed facility will offer clubs a much needed all year round training facility. The problem associated with training teams in poor weather and during the dark winter months will now be answered ”
Mr Harvey continued “The proposed project is unique in that we hope we have designed a facility that will offer a multi-purpose, multi-sport, multi-surface training area that will continue to be a significant resource for school, club and community and will be unlike any other facility of its type in the North West. It is our intention to make this facility as inclusive as possible. All groups must be included and through innovative design we can make this happen. I am heavily involved in the Paralympic and blind sports movements in the country and a facility such as this needs to include everyone”
Mr Harvey finished by saying “the facility will continue to be managed professionally by County Donegal VEC and its location will complement existing structures within the site.”
The club will now begin the arduous process of raising the necessary matching funds to make the project a reality. The first fund raising effort will be a Summer Camp for 5 -13 year olds. The camp will take place from the 10th to the 14th of July at the Abbey Vocational Schools Gym. Contact Michelle Harvey on 086 211148 or Pauline McGuire on 074 97 23642 for further information.


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