Date: 27 Jul 2021
Category: City regeneration and development
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl has visited Avoniel to view progress on the £8 million redevelopment, ahead of its opening in October.
The transformation of the former Avoniel Leisure Centre site aims to address the lack of 3G pitches in the area, while also providing flexible indoor space for the community. New facilities will include an intermediate standard 3G football pitch; three covered and two uncovered 3G five-a-side pitches; an outdoor 3G seven-a-side pitch; multi-purpose rooms; meeting rooms and changing rooms.
The majority of works are now complete including construction of the pavilion, the laying of the five-a-side and seven-a-side 3G pitches and the installation of the new car park. The eleven-a-side 3G pitch will be laid in August, while the internal fit out of the building and the finishing touches to the outdoor spaces are now underway.
Councillor Nicholl said: “This is one of seven new and upgraded leisure facilities that make up Belfast City Council’s £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme - the biggest investment of its kind in the UK. This investment demonstrates our commitment to getting more people more active, more often.
“When it opens, Avoniel will welcome sports clubs, groups and individuals from across Belfast and further afield. It will also play a vital role in improving health and wellbeing in the local community, one of the key objectives of the Belfast Agenda, the city’s community plan.
“Alongside the £17 million restoration and expansion of Templemore Baths which is well underway, and the hugely popular Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre which opened in 2019, the community in east Belfast will be blessed with world class, affordable leisure facilities for decades to come.”
Avoniel will be run by GLL, the social enterprise who operates all Belfast City Council’s leisure centres under the ‘Better’ brand when it opens.
Gareth Kirk, Regional Director of GLL, said: “With Belfast already playing host to the UEFA Super Cup in August, it is exciting to see more high quality football facilities taking shape at Avoniel. This type of investment helps us deliver our commitment to long term community activity. It also acts as a pathway to elite sport and we look forward to the day when we see one of our own on the European football stage after coming through the ranks at Avoniel.”
Avoniel will be the fifth of seven new centres that form Belfast City Council’s Leisure Transformation Programme (LTP). It follows the opening of Olympia in 2017, Lisnasharragh and Brook in 2019 and Andersonstown in 2020. The upgrade to Templemore Baths is due to be completed in autumn 2021, while the final LTP project will see a new leisure centre built at the Girdwood Community Hub site in north Belfast, with work due to get underway in 2022.
For more information, visit the Leisure Transformation Programme pages.