Enniscorthy Sports Hub holds benefits for the entire county
Enniscorthy Sports Hub has proven to be a positive addition to the county for more than just sports enthusiasts.
In fact, long before its construction, the Hub was creating employment for local people. Following months of research and public consultation, the Sports Hub went to full public procurement. It was two Wexford companies who were chosen for the project.
'MGM Partnership designed the Hub and The Crawford Group of Wexford specialised in the laying out of sports facilities,' said Enniscorthy District Manager Pádraig O'Gorman. 'It was great to have local businesses play a part in the construction of a local resource.'
Since opening in May, the benefit to the local economy has spread outwards, particularly as visitors flock to the town.
'The days that the large championships took place here, there was a spill out into the town afterwards,' said Pádraig, who believes that the facility will continue to attract business to nearby shops, cafes and hotels.
The Hub has also created direct employment for several local people, including Thomas Crofts and James Connolly. The two men, who work as supervisors, were taken on through Tús - a community work-placement scheme which provides short-term working opportunities to unemployed people. Their involvement with the Hub has had an impact, not only on their lives, but on the overall operation of the facility.
'In the beginning we could only open in the evening. Supervision is necessary to prevent vandalism from occurring,' said Pádraig. 'Now, with the compliment of the supervisors, we can extend the opening hours.'
Although the Enniscorthy Sports Hub has economic advantages, this was not the aim behind its creation. For Pádraig and other members of Enniscorthy Municipal Council, young people were the focus of the project.
'We wanted to do it for the kids,' explained Pádraig, who believes that the low entry fee will make it accessible for people of all ages. 'The town has its problems and we feel that this could be a great way to get young people involved in sport.'
In a further effort to encourage exercise amongst young people, plans have been made to link the Hub with some local schools. While some schools have already visited for sports days and workshops, the real work will begin in September.
'We have a programme which we will be delivering through the local sports partnership that works with the schools,' explained Padraig. 'Through the County Council, they have access to a range o different coordinators and coaches for rugby, soccer and other sports. We can also use this facility to promote athletics in schools.'