Newcastle FC secures £274k funding for club facilities

Newcastle FC secures £274k funding for club facilities

27 March 2024

NEWCASTLE Football Club has been awarded £274,000 to provide sport facilities for local people at the heart of the community.

This funding, which will be delivered through the government’s Community Ownership Fund, will provide a significant boost to local people in Newcastle by supporting improved facilities for a full range of sports.

The club, which has 300 members, plans to create new facilities situated at Church Hill just off the Castlewellan Road.

In 2022, Newcastle FC and the wider community lost the community sports asset at Shimna Integrated College due to the expansion of the school.

Club chairperson Sean Kelly said: “The loss of Shimna Integrated College sports pitch was a massive blow for our club, the children and young people plus the senior players and wider community who have lost this crucial recreational asset.

“However, from this knock back, this process has empowered our club to pursue community ownership.

“We have made huge strides in terms of the club structure and advanced to a project state of readiness with planning permission obtained, match funding secured and a clear vision for the future of the club to provide a recreational and community facility for everyone in the local area.

“We are delighted to have secured Community Ownership Fund investment that will empower the club to animate our vision to provide sporting facilities for club programmes and activities.” 

The new facilities will give Newcastle FC the opportunity to establish a home that will create wider community benefit through the medium of football and non-sport related activities, allowing for a community improvement in health and wellbeing, education, social inclusion, and volunteer opportunities.

This project will build and sustain Newcastle FC by creating new sporting and recreational facility that will complement the national governing body Irish FA strategies and the Local Authority Sports Facility Strategy to boost grassroots participation.

The relocated facility will improve the quality of the experience that will encourage players, spectators, coaches, officials, and volunteers to continue their involvement in the game and contribute towards the growth and development of Newcastle FC as culturally significant organisation for local people. 

Newcastle FC will build a sustainable sporting home for Newcastle with initial capital support received from the Community Ownership Fund to deliver the capital element of the project.

Newcastle FC is committed to community ownership of the new facility and that the whole community feel an affinity and an element of ownership of this planned new asset.

The club wish to thank Richard Forsythe (Forsythe Consulting), Margaret Craig (Development Trust NI) and Community Ownership Fund for their support and assistance. 

The club also extend thanks all the local groups, other sports clubs, organisations, and cross-party political support, as well as Shimna Integrated College for many years of partnership. 

Forsythe Consulting Director Richard Forsythe said: “I am delighted that Newcastle Football Club have secured much needed funding to create a new sporting home for the club and the community.

“I have been working with the club for a number of years and they are a vital pillar of the local community. The reposition of the club facility will mitigate the loss of the Shimna sports pitch asset.

“Sport helps unite people and these enhanced amenities will strengthen the club’s capacity to contribute to community cohesion in Newcastle.”