Flood-hit Ardstraw receive major UEFA funding boost.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Flood-hit Ardstraw receive major UEFA funding boost. thumbnailDamaged Ground

ARDSTRAW FC have received a major cash boost from UEFA to help them rebuild after their facilities at Vaughan's Holm at Newtownstewart were hit by floods last summer.

The NI Intermediate League club has received €57,860 from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee to help redevelop the ground following water damage in the floods last August.

Water engulfed the ground's perimeter fencing, pitch and changing facilities, where it rose up to a height of over two feet.

After the water had subsided, it left the inside of the clubrooms gutted and in need of a serious clean-up. The club has since undertaken a huge volunteering and fundraising drive in the spent the past seven months to help restore Vaughan's Holm to its former condition.

The Committee also provided NIFL Championship club Institute FC with €160,880 after the Riverside Stadium's pitch, changing room and stands were all badly affected by water damage in the deluge in 2017.

The natural disaster grants from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee represent almost half of the total available fund for hardship support across Europe.

The yearly budget of €500,000 available to help rebuild football infrastructure when hit by natural disasters.

President of the Irish FA, David Martin, said: "I would like to thank UEFA for the substantial support that it has provided for both Institute FC and Ardstraw FC through its Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee.

"Our membership of UEFA means that we were able to draw attention to the difficulties that the two clubs had endured and I am pleased that European football's governing body responded so comprehensively.

"I hope that these funds will provide considerable assistance to both Institute FC and Ardstraw FC as they aim to restore the damage that they suffered last summer."

Aaron Hempton, chairman of Ardstraw FC, was delighted to receive the funding: "It's great that European football's governing body is concerned about a small intermediate club in Northern Ireland and saw fit to give this award.

We are delighted and will use the funding to restore our pitch and clubhouse."

Announcing the news online last week, the club stated: "In August 2017 our club was faced with utter devastation at the hands of severe flooding!

Thanks to the hard work and generosity of local organisations, volunteers and the entire football community (UK wide) we are proud to now be in a position whereby we can progress with the planned redevelopment of our home ground at Vaughan's Holm, Newtownstewart.

"We are delighted to therefore accept this timely financial assistance from European Football's Governing Body as they show their support to our rebuilding efforts and determination to once again serve our community."

SDLP MLA for West Tyrone, Daniel McCrossan, welcomed the announcement: "This is a much welcomed and much needed move for a local football club that faced devastation through flooding last year. The club was on its knees and I am glad UEFA have approved this grant which will go some way in getting the club back on its feet.

"Last August's flooding has decimated local clubs in the Tyrone area, many of whom may never get back to a place where they were.

But I am glad of today's news which benefits Ardstraw FC and hopefully gives a glimmer of hope for other clubs.

"Today is a much welcomed move and I hope that more can be done to salvage what's left of other local football and GAA clubs throughout this county who've been impacted by flooding."


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