HARNESSING into the town of Strabane’s renowned community spirit will be one of the prime objectives of the Sigersons as they set out a long term strategic plan, according to a top club official.
The local club hosted a well attended and informative planning workshop in St Pat’s Hall last week aimed at giving anyone with an interest in the future of GAA in Strabane an opportunity to have their say.
Jason Foley, the Sigersons Development Officer, was pleased with the input of all in attendance at the community consultation event, stating that the meeting represented the first step in the Sigersons attaining the best practice standards of excellence set out by Ulster GAA’s Club Maith Accreditation scheme.
“It was an information gathering night, an opportunity to knock a few ideas about and have a bit of a brainstorming session. The County Board were very pleased with the numbers in attendance so we got good feedback from them. They said it was one of the biggest ones held in the County.
“ There was a positive atmosphere and good vibe about where the club is at and where it is going. There is people reconnecting with the club who haven’t been about in years. There was a lot of community groups and political representatives and all the ideas that were aired hopefully will give us a good insight going forward.”
Jason and other members of the club’s development committee will use the positive contributions to draft up a strategic plan for the next five years which will aim to build on the past and plan for the future of GAA in the town.
“ It’s a matter now of compiling a report based on the ideas, seeing which we can achieve and are realistic and which might be too over ambitious.
“There all different sub-categories like coaching based development, what could we do better, where you see yourself in five years, what targets do you set yourself to achieve; how can you improve facilities, and existing club structures; and governance.
“There’s more than just the football, you have the whole cultural aspect to it, the Scor, and Irish Language promotion, how you are regarded in the community; look to modernise Facebook page so it meets the needs of younger members; there is so many things.”
Foley revealed that one of its primary tasks had to be tapping into the big population base within the town, something which a lot of urban clubs have found challenging.
“ We are based right in the heart of Ballycolman but we have actually very few players from there. When you look at successful country clubs such as Slaughtneil, which wouldn’t have the population that Ballycolman has, they are able to put out two teams capable of winning Ulster senior titles. At the most we have a dozen people from Ballycolman who are members of our club.
“ I think last year we had one of the worst membership figures in Tyrone, around 189 adult members. When you look at the population base there is 6,800 houses in the area. When you look at the size of the catchment area we have identified all of them as potential areas of development.”
The Sigersons are aiming to launch their Strategic Plan in two months time, with the emphasis on establishing the GAA club at the core of the community.
“ The launch will likely co-incide with the recruitment drive for membership. That closes on March 31st. As an urban club we are just trying to engage with the Community. Strabane has a great community spirit and we are trying to harness that to have a positive effect on the club. We want the GAA club to be the focal point of the community, so that various groups can feel free to use our facilities.”