GAA Football

Thank you very much Suzanne Eastwood... Carryduff announce development programme after business funding boost

Carryduff chairperson Kate Connery (right) with Suzanne Eastwood, of Eastwood Group who have pledged a donation of up to £200,000 to the club
Andy Watters

CARRYDUFF GAC are expected to begin the transformation of their Páirc Aodha Dhuibh grounds early in 2021 after their ambitious development programme was boosted by confirmation of a substantial financial donation from Eastwood Group.

The south Belfast club, which reached a first ever Down senior championship final in 2020, intend to lay the platform for continued success in the future by developing both of their existing pitches and adding a third to their complex.

The forthcoming development will also include the installation of state-of-the-art gym equipment within their new health and wellbeing centre, a 1200 metre community walkway and fitness trails around the grounds, new access for those with disabilities and parents with prams, a mains power upgrade for the additional facilities and floodlighting, a handball wall, a children’s playground facility, floral planting area for local schools and community groups and the upgrade of the community social hub.

The work has been made possible by the generosity of business leader Suzanne Eastwood and Eastwood Group who have pledged a donation of up to £200,000 which is expected to become available to the club within weeks, enabling Carryduff to reprioritise the club development plan created in recent years. The funding comes through a government-backed Landfill Tax Community Fund scheme which enables those organisations operating in the waste sector to use tax relief to create funds contributing to community and environmental schemes.

Club chairperson Kate Connery explained: “We're truly blessed that Suzanne thought of us. Sean McGeough, who is a driving force for development in the club, was the one who informed her (about the scheme) and without him we wouldn't have had this.

"There is a huge need for community facilities in Carryduff and this truly is a gift, a wonderful gift for all of our club community and those around the local area. The support shown by Suzanne and the Eastwood family is astounding, especially as we exit this awful pandemic which has created so much disruption in 2020.”

Connery recently met with Suzanne Eastwood, club development officer Paul McConville and club facilities officer Gerard McKeever to assess the plans for the future.

“This is a truly exciting time to chair the club,” she added.

“The Eastwood family has given us the opportunity to achieve what was a 10-year development plan in just one or two years. What we’ll be able to offer our players and to the wider community is just fantastic.”

The donation came as a huge but welcome surprise for club committee members and the confirmation of a potential multi-year programme of investment created even more excitement.

Former chairman Paul McConville admitted he was “completely overcome” by the Eastwood Group’s altruism.

“People have told me they could hear the emotion in my voice as I passed on my thanks to Suzanne and her team,” he said.

“I was completely overcome by the generosity of the offer. In my time there has been so much development here at Páirc Aodha Dhuibh and it lends itself to doing so much more.”

The development work is expected to commence in early 2021.

Eastwood Limited is a third and fourth-generation company that originates from a parent company that was established in 1897. Eastwood Envirowaste, a recycling and waste management division was formed in 2003 by the Eastwood family to augment the service of the demolition and asbestos removal teams.

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