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Secretary of State visits The Showgrounds

THE Chairman and Board of Coleraine Football Club welcomed the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris and his wife Jayne to The Showgrounds…

The minister, a qualified referee, was invited by the club for the game against Linfield and provided with a Taste of Causeway hospitality. The Board of Coleraine Football Club used the visit to show the minister the need for developing The Showgrounds into The North West Regional Stadium, and bringing major football matches out of Belfast.

The minister was also joined by Stephen Martin, the IFA Chairman, who both saw first-hand the passion the local fans have for Coleraine FC and declining facilities at The Showgrounds have restricted numbers able to attend the game. He heard about the culture and heritage of The Showgrounds and the Social Return on Investment Coleraine Football Club continues to deliver in the area.

He was also told whilst we were deeply disappointed by the outcome of Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund, we were now preparing for Round 3 of Levelling Up as well as The Sub Regional Fund, when they both eventually open.

The Secretary of State took time after the game to meet the Young Strikers who played at half time, raising money for the Special Olympics, he was accompanied by Oscar Winner James Martin out on the pitch to meet the young players.

Taken by the hospitality afforded to him and his wife, the Secretary of State stayed long after the game to meet the players, the referee, the grounds staff, the hospitality team, thanking them for the welcome he received.

The Chairman and Board emphasised to the minister and the local representative that Coleraine Football Club is a cross community club, in the heart of the community, working with community representative to help improve and develop the area.