Funding Watch: Who's getting money and who's giving it - 1.5m boost for NI school sports

By Jo Stephenson

| 01 June 2004

A 30-year-old dream to build new sports facilities at a County Antrim primary school is just one scheme to benefit from a near 1.5m boost for projects in Northern Ireland from the New Opportunities Fund's programme for PE and sport.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Northern Ireland had not spent any of its 33m share of the funding pot since it was launched in 2000.

In February, the first recipients of funding were announced and this latest sum, which is intended for 11 projects, should help to counteract criticism of the time it has taken for money to be distributed.

Grants totalling some 1.48m will be distributed to schools and communities in Belfast, Enniskillen, Tyrone, Down, Derry and Antrim to fund facilities ranging from floodlit sports pitches to changing rooms and outdoor play areas.

Almost 340,000 will go towards building a state-of-the-art sports pitch, with changing rooms and a play area, beside Dromara Primary School in Antrim. Its head teacher, Stanley Poots, said: "This is fantastic news as it will mark the culmination of 30 years of working and planning towards offering children, and other people in the area, sports facilities that they can be proud of. This grant will make our dreams come true."

More than 500,000 will be used to create a synthetic grass pitch in a park as part of a collaboration between Queen's University Belfast and Botanic Primary School in south Belfast.

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