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25 Sept 2022

€3m family and sports development for Carndonagh 'a blueprint for excellence'

The development plan will see local social enterprise Spraoi build Donegal’s first child and family hub on the park site

€3m family and sports development for Carndonagh 'a blueprint for excellence'

Carn FC secretary Sarah McDaid; CEO Spraoi Helen Nolan; Chairperson Spraoi Patricia Lee; Jim Coyle Chairperson Carn FC; Patsy Doherty and Owen McGuinness Trustees; Roisin McLaughlin Treasurer Carn FC

Joint plans to develop a €3m family hub and sport facilities in Carndonagh by 2025 have been announced by the Trustees of St Patrick’s Park and Carrick Sports Field Committee. 

The park has been leased to Carndonagh Football Club for over 50 years. The development plan will see local social enterprise Spraoi build Donegal’s first child and family hub on the park site, while the club moves to a bigger space at Carrickafoden outside the town.

“This is a wonderful, far-sighted collaboration between the trustees, the soccer club and Spraoi,” said Owen McGuinness, spokesperson for the Trustees. 

“The proposed developments are a huge bonus for all of Inishowen and will be an enduring community asset. After a successful Development Fund Initiative application from Donegal County Council, we engaged S3 Solutions to prepare a feasibility study of the proposed developments and prepare a strong future-proofed business plan.”

Chairperson of Carndonagh FC Jim Coyle said: “Club members mightn’t want to see football leaving the town centre. But we recognise this significant opportunity to see state of the art sporting facilities on one site in Carrickafoden. It offers us the chance to cater better for our membership and especially the 320 children that attend training.” 

Spraoi Chairperson, Patricia Lee, said they will build Donegal’s first ever purpose-built Child and Family Hub with significant outdoor space on the St. Patrick’s Park site.

She said the Trustees of St Patrick’s Park have “unlocked the potential Inishowen has to offer with the very best of family and sports facilities. Carndonagh will be a blueprint for excellence for rural communities with the addition of these facilities. Our people deserve the best and that’s what we are all working together to achieve.”

Ms Lee added that the child and family hub will support the physical and emotional well-being of children. 

“We will offer fun, affordable and inclusive workshops, activities and support services which focus on creativity and play,” she said.

“St Patrick’s Park Trustees, Carndonagh Football Club and Spraoi are all working together to deliver these ambitious plans. This collaborative alliance is planning for the development of sports facilities and services that will benefit families living and working in Inishowen. This is about developing much needed community assets that can be used for generations to come.”

Carndonagh Football Club say they are excited about the move to Carrickafoden. 

“Soccer has been in St Patrick's Park since 1947, so it will be sad to leave,” said the club’s first team manager, Gerard Crossan. “But the club has developed over the years and has outgrown the park.”

Mr Crossan says that from a community point of view, this is “unbelievable news. “It’s exciting times for the town and community of Carndonagh and the wider Inishowen area going into the future.”

The three groups say they will announce further details about the project shortly. Spraoi CEO Helen Nolan says they will be “reaching out to our communities here at home and across the world to help us reach our target of €3m. We have already secured €300,000 from the RTE Toy Show Appeal but we still have a long way to go! So, we will be outlining details of our fundraising plans over the coming weeks.”

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