A County Derry football club is up for a major award.
Draperstown Celtic have been shortlisted for the IFA Inclusivity Project Of The Year Award.
It’s the first time the Irish FA Foundation has run the Connect programme solely for women and Draperstown will have three of their Diamonds – the club's ladies team – coaches taking part in the scheme.
“This is another sign of the commitment that Draperstown Celtic have to growing women’s football in the club and in the area,” read a club statement to the County Derry Post.
“Needless to say that as a club that strives to 'Develop the player and the person' we are absolutely delighted and honoured.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank whoever nominated us and to also again thank the wonderful volunteers and wider club community who make us what we are.”
Funded through The Northern Ireland Executive Office, the Connect programme is designed to continue to deliver good relations during the Covid-19 pandemic via the Zoom digital platform.
The all-female programme, running for seven weeks, aims to offer a variety of informative sessions, from volunteering opportunities to racism awareness, disability training to refereeing, mental health to anti-sectarianism and a virtual tour of the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.
Back in October, Draperstown Celtic were announced as Regional Club of the Year in the IFA McDonalds Grassroots Awards.
Meanhwhile, playing fields in Draperstown are to undergo a survey with a view to the facilities being upgraded following an approach by a local football club.
Cahore Playing Fields are home to Draperstown Celtic FC, who have asked the council to consider upgrading the facilities and exploring leasing arrangements with the club.
At a recent meeting of the council's Development Committee, councillors approved plans to carry out the survey, as well as liaising with their legal team around the possibility of leasing the facilities.
Two local councillors welcomed the approval and highlighted the work being done by the club in the Draperstown area.
Cllr Catherine Elattar said the club needed the facilities upgraded in order to continue their progress.
“Draperstown Celtic is a community based club and they promote physical and mental health across the area. In order to progress within the league, they need to have the pitches upgraded,” she said.
“They would like to be able to lease it in order to draw down funding to proceed with this but they need some work to be done before they can take this on.
“The council will benefit as well because at the minute they are having to pay to maintain the facilities and pay rent to the company who owns the ground.”
Cllr Cora Corry stressed the importance of the team having a local facility to use.
“They're an integral part of the community and cover all age groups and abilities, male and female.
“They're involved in Covid support and mental health,” she said.
“It's not good looking for a club in Mid Ulster that they sometimes have to go out of the area to play so I'm delighted we are going to look at this,” added the local councillor.
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