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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Kicking off a new era at Ballyclare Comrades with £132,000 council funding

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, Councillor Michael Stewart, Councillor Helen Magill, Councillor Vera McWilliam, pictured with Robert Fleck, Business Development Director at Ballyclare Comrades FC and Ballyclare Primary School pupil, Olivia Mawhinney.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, Councillor Michael Stewart, Councillor Helen Magill, Councillor Vera McWilliam, pictured with Robert Fleck, Business Development Director at Ballyclare Comrades FC and Ballyclare Primary School pupil, Olivia Mawhinney.


Work has kicked-off on the new 3G pitch at Dixon Park Ballyclare, home ground of Ballyclare Comrades Football Club.  


This monumental development, made possible through the steadfast support of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, marks a significant milestone in the club's history.



The project, made possible by £132,000 match funding from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, is a testament to the Council's commitment to enhancing sports facilities across the Borough.


The Club is one of 17 sporting facilities in Northern Ireland to secure funding from the Irish FA and the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund, which aims to improve and refurbish facilities to create a better grassroots football infrastructure foundation.



Councillor Vera McWilliam, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, Robert Fleck, Business Development Director at Ballyclare Comrades FC, Councillor Michael Stewart, Councillor Helen Magill and Ballyclare Primary School pupil, Olivia Mawhinney.

Councillor Vera McWilliam, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper, Robert Fleck, Business Development Director at Ballyclare Comrades FC, Councillor Michael Stewart, Councillor Helen Magill and Ballyclare Primary School pupil, Olivia Mawhinney.


Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper expressed enthusiasm for the project, stating:


"Our commitment to investing in grassroots sports facilities is unmatched. We believe in the power of sports to bring communities together, and this substantial investment in Ballyclare Comrades Football Club's new 3G pitch reflects our dedication to fostering a healthy and active lifestyle for our residents."


Business Development Director at Ballyclare Comrades FC, Robert Fleck, was equally enthusiastic about the project, stating:


“This is an exciting time for the club. Over the last six years, we’ve grown from a traditional men’s football team into a community based club with over 550 members made up of boys and girls, men and women, ranging in age from 5 to 35. In addition, the club also has over 50 coaches and support staff.



"We’re thankful that the Council has come on board to support this badly needed development, which will have a positive impact on Ballyclare and the surrounding areas. Last year we installed new floodlights and with other work we have brought the ground capacity up to 3,349.


"We are hopeful that the new 3G pitch scheduled to be completed by spring 2024will help attract high profile games into the Borough.”



As well as £396,000 from the IFA and UK Government funds,and £132,000 from the Council, the club has taken out a loan of £145,000 to make this project happen.


In addition, the club has future plans to build a new two-storey clubhouse which will also act as a community, health and well-being hub.

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