Tir na nOg’s latest innovative move towards securing club links within the community was given the official green light on Friday.
Dessie Henderson and Michael Lavery from the committee joined club captain Brian Mallon to celebrate the launch of a £600.000 project.
Representatives of the Department of Social Development and North West Portadown Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership were also on hand to offer support.
The project - due for completion in February 2016 - will result in four modern changing rooms, a first-aid area, referee’s facility and toilets thanks to grant aid of £545,000 as the backbone of extensive internal fundraising efforts.
“It is very exciting and that enthusiasm will only grow over the next few months as we start to see the work take shape,” said Lavery, the Tir na nOg development officer. “We see our club as a pivotal part of the community, especially when it comes to helping the youth stay active alongside improving skills.
“We have fundraising efforts planned each month, with everyone working extremely hard.
“It costs a substantial amount to keep our 16 teams going each season but the major emphasis at present is certainly on the building fund.”
Support from the Department of Social Development and North West Portadown Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership has been key to helping turn the dream into a reality.
“Attempts have been made in the past to move forward with such a project and many of us were still not prepared to accept it was all coming true until the first stage of work started at the ground,” said Lavery. “Our links to the community extend to so many other areas, such as schools and other sports clubs.
“It is going to be a major talking point for the area.
“It is wonderful to see everything moving forward following so many years of hard work putting our plans in place.”