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Preparations for reopening of upgraded Melvin

Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Health and Community Committee have received an update on the programme of events planned to mark the official reopening of the newly upgraded facilities at Melvin Arena.

£1.15m has been invested by council in the project, and nembers heard that the facilities have been confirmed as meeting IFA intermediate premiership standards. Contractors began work on the site in August 2020 and despite the challenges presented by Covid19, the official handover is now expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Next week will see a packed programme of activities at Melvin kicking off a series of sporting events and activities to engage the local community and sporting organisations.

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Council’s head of Community Development and Leisure, Barry O’Hagan, told members that local residents in the neighbouring Ballycolman area will be given a sneak preview of the work , with a tour of the new facilities. They heard that this is part of the extensive community engagement which has taken place throughout the project. Over the coming days, local community and sporting organisations will also be offered the chance to enjoy some complimentary taster sessions at the Melvin 3G or Melvin Arena track.

Chair of the Health and Community Committee, Councillor Paul Fleming, welcomed the plans saying: “I’m delighted to see this work at Melvin Arena completed and the news that the new facilities meet the IFA intermediate premiership standards. I want to acknowledge the work of officers in progressing the plans through the lockdown period, and thank the local residents for their patience as the work was completed.

“The planned programme of events marking the opening will be met with much excitement in the local community. This will be a fantastic facility for local clubs, offering the capacity to host larger crowds at sporting events. I look forward to the first headline fixture at the Arena which will properly showcase all it has to offer.”

The upgraded facility boasts a 200 seater covered spectator stand, upgraded changing facilities, entrance booths and turnstiles, and toilet provision. Council’s Sports Development team will now engage with residents in the local area to shape a programme of coach led activities such as walk jog run, cycling or other physical activities which will best meet the needs of the local community.

Members were told that the Children’s Summer Scheme would run from Monday 26th to 30th July, geared towards children aged 6 to 13. The camp will introduce children to a range of sports and physical activity games with the emphasis on fun and building new friendships.

Work is ongoing to arrange a headline fixture at Melvin Arena working in partnership with IFA to deliver a launch event focused on female participation. Officers are also working in partnership with sporting governing bodies to deliver opportunities to try and improve skills in Athletics, Cricket, GAA, Rugby and Soccer.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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