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History of the Cliff, Larne

The CliffSeacourt Community Council was established in 2002 after detailed local research identified the need for community based support, initiatives and groups e.g. Youth Club, Outreach Centre, Senior Citizens Group and Mothers & Others Group. The success in the setting up of these programmes encouraged the council to design an Action Plan that developed a vision and direction for the future of the entire community. One major finding from canvassing local people was the requirement for a community health/activity/sports facility which would benefit not only the Seacourt community but the wider borough.

After these needs where identified for a community based facility, programmes were identified and Seacourt Community Council submitted an application to the Building Sport Fund which is a Big Lottery Project in partnership with Sport Northern Ireland.  Through the development of this application Seacourt Community Council formed a working partnership with Larne Youth. This agreement strengthened local community involvement and brought together potential beneficiaries in the form of young people, many from areas at risk and of deprivation. This alliance developed into the formal partnership hereinafter known as The Cliff (Larne).  As The Cliff (Larne) developed and the project gathered pace, other organisations were canvassed and encouraged to become involved in the project including sporting groups, primary, secondary and special needs schools, youth groups and community groups. In total 29 groups became involved with providing their view and respective needs for such a facility.

The CliffWith this identified and an accepted submission to Sport Northern Ireland The Cliff (Larne) progressed to appointing Business Consultants FGS McClure Watters who researched further into the exact requirements for such a community based centre with health and activity programmes. Again the wider community were involved in the business case process through a number of information nights where representatives of the above groups indicated their interest, requirements and planned usage for such a facility.  A further evening was held by the Design Consultants, Kennedy Fitzgerald whereby again representatives of the above groups were invited to give their opinions and input on the actual facility design.  All information gained was collated by both Business and Design Consultants ensuring that all requirements for user groups would be met.

Since the business case was submitted and funding secured The Cliff Management Team has been formed to oversee the delivery and management of the facility. This committee is comprised of representatives from Seacourt Community Council, Larne Youth, local Councillors, Council Officers and members of user groups.  It is envisaged that the Committee will have a maximum of 17 members. Currently the Cliff Management Team meets every month and these meetings are used to reflect on progress in implementing the programme of work, funding, accounts, etc. Sub-committees of the Management Team will be established to further accelerate particular aspects of the work, i.e. marketing and public relations committee, monitoring and evaluation committee. To ensure continued beneficiary and community involvement the Cliff will facilitate a User Group Committee who will have direct input into programmes and the overall progress of the project inline with their needs.

The CliffThrough community involvement the Cliff plan to provide training and educate local people to run many of the activities set out within the development plan. By building local capacity the Cliff will ensure community ownership and allow programmes to become sustainable. For example, through Seacourt Community Council’s Outreach Centre work programmes e.g. Community Soccer Coaching is planned to offer a programme of physical activity for young people aged between 17 and 23. These young people are often identified as Young People at Risk although from their involvement in this programme the Cliff will identify potential community leaders and coaches. The Cliff will then offer training and education in areas such as sports coaching and leadership. Therefore the young people can work towards running similar programmes for others. This will develop local capacity, boost confidence, self esteem and pride while potentially offering a route into employment.