|Gala Opening for Gilford Community Centre|
25 May 2012
Sporting heroes, local dignitaries, representatives from Banbridge District Council and Libraries NI joined members of the public at Gilford Community Centre on Wednesday 23 May 2012 to mark the building’s official opening.
Council Chairman, Councillor Joan Baird, welcomed an enthusiastic crowd to the new £2.4 million centre before inviting Irish international rugby player, Rory Best, to help her declare the building officially open.
Speaking at the event, Council Chairman Councillor Joan Baird said: “I know the people of Gilford have lobbied hard over the years for the provision of a shared community facility, and looking around today, I am sure you will agree it was certainly worth the wait. I know many other towns of a similar size would be extremely envious of what has been provided in Gilford.
I would like to thank the community of Gilford for their contribution to the project and in particular Gilford Community Forum led by Mr William McKeown for playing a key role in the consultation process. The Gilford Forum helped shape and guide the design of this marvellous building and it is hoped that its members will continue to offer further advice on the centre in the future.
However, it is not the building that is important, but what actually happens inside it. This is by no means the end of a journey, but only the beginning of another leg - it is critical that this building is used by all. It is not just about sport, it is about wellbeing in its widest sense - physical, mental and quality of life and we’ll do all we can to make sure it is put to good use.”
Councillor Baird also paid tribute to both the design and construction teams, Paul Monaghan Chartered Architects and Felix O’Hare & Co Limited, for delivering a first-class sports and community centre. The striking footbridge that spans 25m over the river and links the centre to all parts of the town was designed by Albert Fry Associates and supplied by Woodburn Engineering.
Also addressing the crowd were David Simpson, MP for Upper Bann and Councillor John Hanna, Chairman of the Council’s Leisure and Development Committee who spoke of the importance and benefit of the impressive new resource for the people of Gilford and the district as a whole.
Guests were treated to a fantastic sporting display by pupils from Gilford PS and St. John’s PS who demonstrated some of the high-tech equipment and amenities the centre has to offer.
Local actor Oliver Moore further entertained guests with a recital of the aptly named poem ‘Near Gilford Town’, which was written by poet and playwright Ken McIlroy.
The ultra modern multi-purpose sports facility and performing arts venue is further proof of the Council’s commitment to the people of the district and represents a significant investment in the sports infrastructure of the area as well as local people’s health and wellbeing.
Comprising a four-court sports hall, a fully equipped fitness suite, two meeting rooms, a kitchen area, separate changing facilities for individuals and groups along with ample car parking, the centre offers an extensive and varied activity programme ensuring the new facility can be enjoyed by all members of the local community.
Gilford Community Centre is open Monday to Friday from 12pm to 10pm but group activities can be accommodated outside of normal opening hours if a booking is made well in advance.
Gilford Community Centre
T: 028 3883 1708