Collooney Opening Was A Special Event
Written by Antoin Ó Braoin, Rúnaí Contae
It was great to be present at the official opening of the new 40×20 handball court at Collooney, Co. Sligo yesterday evening as players from a number of adjoining clubs and counties mingled with the locals on this very special occasion. Having been in the area earlier in the week and seen the enthusiasm surrounding the build up it was an easy enough decision to return there again yesterday and to share in the celebrations.
Handball people around the country should recognize this development for what it is – a coming together of local enterprise and local people to create an amenity that will be of benefit to all sectors of the local community for generations to come.
The commitment and determination of the Club Development Committee headed up by its Chairman Hugh McGarry appears to have been matched by the support of the people of the surrounding area and with the cost of the building already well under control the entire project looks like being a resounding success story for Collooney.
The complex was packed to the rafters for the opening, as Sligo County Secretary and MC for the occasion Conal Cannon got proceedings underway and having witnessed at first hand the hugely enthusiastic and supportive crowd that turned out for the event, it was easier to understand how such a comparatively small area as this could raise the necessary expertise and finances to take on and complete such a magnificent facility.
The lessons for any club attempting to emulate Collooney are clear;
Get a development committee together to drive all aspects of the project and do not confine this committee to club members. Get the ‘right’ Chairperson and the ‘right’ people on this committee. Get the right mix of expertise on the committee. Identify the right architect for the job and get him/her on the committee. Get the right person in charge of fundraising and above all get a good PRO so the local community is kept informed of progress.
The key to the success of any such project is to get the local community to take ownership and to see it as theirs, not as something being built in their area which has little to do with them. A good PRO will help to ensure this will not happen and Collooney had Michael McGee.
We can all learn from Collooney!