Strandhill Community Park was given to the people of Strandhill by Sligo County Council in the late 1960’s. The people who negotiated the deal with the council were the late Joe McMorrow and Brian Duffy. They and the volunteers developed a playing surface and the Park began to be used by the Community.
Under the guidance of former Strand Celtic committee members, David Kivlehan, Ray O Donnell and Michael Cox, Strand Celtic sought a more permanent base for the team after being based at Browns field on the Strandhill Road for many years. The club had a growing number of players and teams and these needed to be catered for. Following the successful negotiation of a long term lease of a pitch from Strandhill Community Park, the club moved to Strandhill in the 1980s.
The club undertook a fund raising campaign culminating in the opening of new dressing rooms at Strandhill in August 1998. These activities were driven by a small committee and this culminating in sod turning by the late Sonny Bree who throughout his life remained one of the true supporter and sponsor of our efforts to provide football for the youth of our community. When our lease of the pitch was secured the main issues were the resurfacing of the existing surface which was scarred with large surface rocks which were a major impediment to the safety of players and a major surface flooding issue on the caravan park side of the pitch which was rectified with large scale drainage.
With the cooperation of the Park Trustees the club Management Committee embarked on their first development plan culminating in the construction of dressing rooms, showers, meeting room and ref changing room. This initial development remains as part of the new complex to this day.
Strandhill Community Park is vested in the people of Strandhill through the Park Trustees who are setup as a limited company. The developments at the park have occurred through partnership between the Trustees and Strand Celtic. Strand Celtic Soccer Club is the primary user of the facility providing sport for over 380 members but now over 500 people use the park each week. The club have worked closely with the Park Trustees over this period to ensure the continued development of the Park for our Community. People such as the late John Joe Keane provided the drive behind the development of the park.
In addition to maintaining the Park the club now ensures that many groups utilise the facilities including our local Bridge Club, Hockey Club, Mother and Baby Club, Youth Club, Yoga, Fitness Classes, Music classes and a wide variety of other groups. In addition our over 35 group play every Monday night and we also provide the park to the local Mental Health Services for their use as a remedial facility with patients. The Strand Celtic Clubhouse is also used by a variety of local business and Community groups for meetings.
Strand Celtic took on the challenge of the fund raising to support the development and has spent c€1m with a debt remaining of €60,000 on all projects which we are now trying to clear. The club working with the Trustees has secured funding from Co. Sligo Leader Partnership and National Sports Capital Programme in conjunction with the Park Trustees. The trustees of the park are Tom Gallogly, Manus Shields, Frank mc Morrow and Peter Tiernan. There are two people employed on a Fas scheme at the Park and Strand Celtic handles the day to day operational management of the Park. The club put in place a development plan in conjunction with the trustees in 2005 which had six phases and ran until 2020. These six phases were:
PHASE I: ADDITIONAL PLAYING PITCHES
The primary objective of the first phase was to provide additional playing pitches to a high standard that would cater for the growing number of teams in the club. This also ensured that playing numbers are maintained and provided for the massive growth in our girls section. The total cost of this development was €100,000.
PHASE II: CLUBHOUSE AND DRESSING ROOMS
The objective of the second phase of the project was to provide dressing rooms and a Community meeting facility for all of the users of Strandhill Community Park . In addition car parking, dugouts and fencing were provided. The total cost was €373,000.
PHASEE III: ALL WEATHER FACILITY
The objective of this phase was to provide a floodlit all-weather facility for training and tennis. The cost of this phase was €180,000.
PHASE IV: PLAYGROUND
The objective of the fourth phase of our development was to provide a playground for young people in the Community aged between 1 and 15 years of age. The cost of this phase was €160,000.
PHASE VI: FLOODLIGHTS
The current project, involving the installation of floodlights has been completed in less than 12 months. A small development committee of Mick McEnroe, Seamus Gilligan, Maurice Monaghan and Michael McDonagh have worked tirelessly to deliver the project. The project was supported by the Sports Capital Programme. This phase cost in the region of €100,000.
There have been a range of smaller developments at the park. Recently a CCTV system has been installed with the generous support of Fastcom and some local fund raising. We have also recently installed a Wi-Fi system in the clubhouse for general use by the public. Separately each year the club has invested around €10000 per anum in the general maintenance for the grounds and pitches. These include:
- CCTV installation
- WIFI provision
- additional storage facilities
- refiurbishment of our astropark
- provision of spectator facilities
- community walkway
- creation of an environmentally friendly park using best environmental practices
We have already delviered the additional storage facilities and the refurbishment of our astropark. The astropark refurbishment was part funded with the generous support of Harmac Limited.
People and Businesses can support the Park development through our company sponsorship scheme and our monthly 50/50 draw. This is a monthly draw that costs only €10 a month and provides prizes of 50% of the income paid out!. Membership details can be had from any committee member or from www.strandceltic.com