Belfast grassroots football club cooking up a storm after major investment

A Belfast grassroots football club is cooking up a storm after securing significant investment. Dungoyne FC has unveiled brand new kitchen facilities as part of a £3m project to improve clubhouse facilities over the next three years.

Dungoyne was named as one of 450 lucky clubs across the UK to benefit from the Howdens Game Changer Programme, which was launched last year to support grassroots football with enhanced facilities and bring local communities closer together.

Located on Cairnsmore Walk, Dundonald, the fantastic new kitchen was unveiled by Howdens Depot Manager, Michael Burford after the club was selected from hundreds of applications seeking Howdens and The Irish FA Foundation support.

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Home to 30 teams and 350 members aged from under-5s to under-17s, the club was chosen due to its commitment to support the local community by carrying out fundraising activities and running outreach events for teenagers.

Playing a vital role in improving income streams and the overall financial health of the Belfast based club, the kitchen will also be a hub of social activity, where supporters can enjoy a cup of tea, the army of club volunteers can dry off their wet feet and players can retreat to celebrate or commiserate after putting in the hard yards on the pitch.

Darren McKnight, Treasurer of Dungoyne Football Club said: "Behind the scenes, a tremendous amount of effort contributes to shaping Dungoyne FC. Our dedicated volunteers are delighted to operate in a brand-new kitchen, offering more hot and cold food and drinks.

"As a result, we are already seeing the commercial benefits with more spectators treating themselves to a snack or tea when they come to watch a match. Not only that, but we’re also seeing more people socialising before, during and after games and training sessions giving us a real community feel.

“In recent years, the club has successfully introduced a disability squad and a girls team, contributing positively to the overall club dynamic. As well as this, we host outreach events that aim to divert children from anti-social activities, utilising the Clubhouse as a drop-in centre on Fridays.

“Our legacy is highlighted through our commitment to coaching development and a history of training players who achieved success in the Irish League and international levels which is something we are incredibly proud of.”

Kyle Robinson, Club Development Officer at the Irish FA Foundation added: “We’re thrilled to see yet another club benefit from our Game Changer Programme in partnership with Howdens. We know how valuable on-the-ground support is to clubs like Dungoyne FC, which is why we look forward to continuing to work with more grassroots teams alongside Howdens, so they can grow while benefiting local communities.”

Michael Burford, Depot Manager, Howdens Castlereagh, commented: “Clubhouses are often the hub of the community, and the community that we operate in is incredibly important to us. With the aim of helping football clubs thrive, we hope the new installation at Dungoyne FC will provide a great base for a pre- and post-match refreshment, as well as help to raise additional funds to support the club’s growth.”

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