The top-scoring applicant in the bid for Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Funding was one that had collaboration at its core.
The St Thomas’s Multisports Complex near Dundrum in South Dublin was a submission driven by Dundrum South Dublin Athletics Club and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council but which also listed Archery Ireland, Fencing Ireland, Triathlon Ireland, Cycling Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland, Gymnastics Ireland and Athletics Ireland as co-applicants.
The desire on the part of the athletics club was to build their own track and associated facilities. It has long been one of the most successful athletics clubs in Ireland, with David Gillick among its more recent stars, and yet it has never had its own track facility.
In the wake of a project which Sport for Business undertook with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 2016, we were approached to offer some early-stage advice and assistance on crafting an application for the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Project.
Going big by including a multi-purpose indoor sports venue, which we had identified as being needed for the area, was the key to getting buy-in and support from so many other sports and to transforming this project from the dream of a single club to that of a whole sporting community.
“Dundrum South Dublin Athletics Club (DSD) is delighted that our joint application with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund has been successful in obtaining funding for our exciting St Thomas Multi-Sport Campus,” said a statement issued by the club on Friday.
“This project is very important for one of the most populated places in the country, which has few sporting facilities for minority sports, and no athletics track available to the public.”
“Having partnered with several minority sporting bodies (including gymnastics, cycling, fencing, archery, triathlon and Special Olympics), DSD volunteers have been tirelessly working with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to see the St Thomas Multi-sport Campus become a reality.”
“Access to a top-class campus means that these sporting bodies will now have the opportunity to help their members perform at the top level, while offering an attractive and easy way into sport for the wider public.”
“In addition, the multi-sport nature of the project, which involves clubs sharing the facilities, will see the sporting bodies work together for mutual benefit and will lead to more participation in sports at all levels.”
“In an effort to promote and develop their respective sports, seven National Governing Bodies for sports have supported our Multi-sport Campus proposal. This collaboration, as well as our partnership with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, has been critical in the success of the application.”
The original application had been for €7 million and the grant announced on Friday was for €5,250,000 but that is enough to make the project a runner and work on the first phase of development can now commence.
It is a model of the collaborative effort which we have long espoused as being critical for the widest possible support of sporting infrastructure projects.
It will hopefully now set a template on how the best of facilities can be created for the largest number of sporting participants.
We are proud to have played some small part in helping bring it to life.
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