Martyn Todd, the Chairman of Saintfield Development Association SDA), has expressed the delight of his committee that works are now ongoing for the new Saintfield Leisure Centre.
He said: “This is a really exciting time for our town! Saintfield Sports Club has a new, state of the art artificial grass surface for the men’s and ladies’ hockey clubs and the Striders.
Saintfield United Football Club’s new grass pitch is also under construction and work has at last started on the new community centre. The floral displays around the village have never looked better, thanks to the SDA Green Committee who kept them all watered throughout the drought.
“The Saintfield Show has a new site, closer to Saintfield at Boardmills, which was greatly enjoyed by those who attended. The infrastructure of Saintfield continues to improve and provide huge opportunities for community activities. My personal goal as Chair of SDA this year is to encourage more people who live in the Saintfield area to find ways to participate in Saintfield community events and programmes and so strengthen Saintfield’s community spirit.”
The new sport and community facility on the Belfast Road opposite Saintfield High School will be a huge boost for the Saintfield community. Martyn Todd said: ““It is fantastic that everybody in the Saintfield area will have a new shared space for indoor sports and community activities.
“We are delighted that funding from the Rural Development Programme and Peace IV were added to the money committed by Newry, Mourne and Down Council to make this happen. Over the years of the project, many different people, council officials, councillors and organisations have contributed to the project. Without their input and support we would not be where we are today, with the reality of a community centre just a few months away.”
(For a full statement of the new centre, log onto the Sainfield News letter link below.)
Martyn noted that when he was young, the population of the town was only around 1000, but it has grown considerably since then to around 4000 with another 12,000 living close by. He explained that there were around 50 community groups in the immediate area and with this growth, there needed to be improved links within the community. And the SDA newsletter edited by Brian Gamble goes a long way to helping to achieve that.
The Saintfield Heritage Society has therefore organized a series of talks starting from January 2019 called ‘Discover Saintfield Community’ which will involve a look into the community’s historic past.
The range of activities of the Saintfield Development Association is considerable and in August the SDA supported a digital animation workshop in Saintfield High School with Joel Simon of Can Do Academy. Participants learned how to work with free software and made animated cartoons.
But as the seasons creep on, looking forward tor Christmas, the SDA has its eye on the ball. They plan to have the annual Christmas Fair on Friday 7th December – but there is a glitch! The Council has not approved their grant application for support for the Christmas lights – it costs around £4000 to have an approved electrical contractor put them up and remove them after the festivities. The SDA have indicated that they may have to fundraise across the community to pay for this failing a Council contribution.
Earlier this year, matters came to a head when local residents complained to NI Water about the state of the sewage system in the town particularly issues at the Old Grand Jury Road. Building has since been help up in the town as the sewage system has reached its capacity, and a survey is being conducted for the area by NI Water. It is understood that NI Water will prioritise the works once it is clear what is required for a new drainage system in Saintfield.
A report of Saintfield would not be complete without touching on the work of the SDA Green Committee. The tireless work of this group is much appreciated by the local community. From the start of the year they take pride in their town and have planted tubs, flowers, planters etc around to create a blaze of colour. Butthsi year, to commemorate WWI, there was an emphasis on planting red flowers. They created a wild flower display at the Lisburn and Belfast Roads. There has been excellent support from local residents and schools, and the watering this year was ‘extremely demanding’ due to the drought conditions. The Green Committee also do clean ups and can be seen at frequent intervals around the town tidying up.
The above is only a part of the activities of the SDA this year and through the summer, and if you want to read more and keep up to speed with their activities, subscribe to the electronic version of Saintfield News at: