From its foundation in September 2003, in Ballyholland Harps’ clubrooms, the BDA was inclusive of all the local organisations in the area. Representatives from the School, the INF, Rascals and Ruffians Playgroup and the Harps were all on the initial committee.
For many years, this core committee and its successors battled in vain to secure funding to provide a facility in the area. Initially this building was envisaged to be adjacent to the existing Harps Social Club, but it was then decided to relocate to the site of the then Kieran Sands’ Park, which could provide a much bigger building footprint, as well as increased parking and green areas.
A Cost Consultant was engaged to make the economic case for a Community Centre, and Architects were engaged to develop a design and attain Planning Permision.
With all the (metaphorical) groundworks in place, the BDA committee continued to see every application for funding rejected, as no one funding body would take the leap of faith to be the first to commit.
Then, almost out of the blue, the committee learned that funding may be available from SOAR for “shovel ready” projects. This was the catalyst for an avalanche of activity and paperwork to meet the criteria required. A new Economic Appraisal had to be drawn up, and several legal hurdles had to be overcome.
New skills were co-opted onto the committee, and a dedicated fundraising sub-committee was established to raise the substantial deficit which still remained. This target was achieved with remarkable efficiency.
Finally, after twelve years of effort, including three years of frenetic activity in the years leading up to and during the actual period of construction, Ballyholland Development Association can look with pride on their state of the art building, and say, “It was worth it!”