Sports facilities at Lisburn Racquets Club are set to improve after a state-of-the-art extension was recently opened.
Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín commended the club on the opening of their newly extended sports complex.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, through Sport NI, provided £489,000 funding for the facility which comprises Alpha Badminton Club, Hilden Tennis Club and the Lisburn Racquets Squash Club.
The work included improvement to changing rooms and the Alpha Hall, an extension to the existing reception to include sports shop and office accommodation and significant work to improve disability access levels.
The club hosted the South African badminton team’s pre games training camp prior to the 2012 Olympic Games and a number of competitions during the 2013 World Police and Fire Games.
Commenting on the opening of the new facility the Minister said: “This facility will not only benefit the three sporting clubs from different disciplines which use the Lisburn Racquets Club as their ‘home’ base, but also the local community who now have a state of the art leisure facility on their doorstep.
“The club has an excellent track record in developing grassroots sport within the local community and I am pleased that my Department and Sport NI have played a pivotal role in helping them realise their vision.
“This however is about much more than the sporting clubs who use the facility; it is about attracting increased numbers of people to avail of what is on offer.
“Increasing participation in sport across all age ranges and abilities is a key target for me and my department as we endeavour to promote equality and to target poverty and social exclusion.
“Sport is perhaps the greatest tool through which this can happen and I have no doubt that the investment made here will have long term benefits for the local community and beyond.”
The Minister made special reference to the enhanced access levels which were now available in the complex for people with a disability.
She said: “The club has tasted success on the international stage with Alpha member Niall McVeigh winning gold at the para-badminton World Championships in 2013 and it is especially pleasing that the major improvements at the club include greatly enhanced levels of access for those with a disability.
“Sporting participation should hold no barriers to anyone and I wish Lisburn Racquets Club and all who use it every success and much enjoyment in the years ahead.”