‘Why are Portadown schools not considered for lucrative sports grant?’

Sydney Anderson
Sydney Anderson
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  • Sports NI had asked ABC Council to identify schools
  • Two schools in Lurgan and one in Donaghcloney earmarked for funding
  • Councillor calls for more Portadown schools to be considered

A Portadown politician has asked why local schools have not been considered for a lucrative sports grant to improve facilities.

DUP Cllr Sidney Anderson commended Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council on helping to work on a project for three schools in the Lurgan area worth an estimated £1.5m.

However, he asked why schools in the Portadown area were not earmarked for the substantial grants.

At a council meeting on Tuesday it was revealed that applications for Donacloney Primary School, Lismore Comprehensive and St Ronan’s College, Lurgan, have been made to Sport NI’s Your School Your Club programme.

Reasons given for choosing these three schools include that they fitted the eligibility criteria and already had discussions with the Council.

Cllr Anderson, who has just returned to ABC Council, said he was perplexed as to why no schools in the Portadown area were considered.

After the meeting, he said: “There appears to be a bit of disparity. I am not against the proposals for the three schools in the Lurgan area but why are Portadown schools not being considered?”

He said he had been contacted recently by schools who were in dire need of upgraded sports facilities and called on the council to act.

Cllr Anderson queried how the council came to the decision on supporting these three schools but no Portadown schools were mentioned.

He said he knew of a number of schools who were badly in need of decent sports facilities and couldn’t understand why they have not been considered

ABC Chief Executive Roger Wilson suggested a round table meeting with the Education Authority and Sport NI to discuss the issues.

DUP Cllr Darryn Causby said he could think of at least one school with 700 pupils in Portadown which was lacking in facilities.

A spokesperson for Sport NI said: “In May 2019, Sport NI invited all 11 district councils to identify potential projects for Your School Your Club.

“SNI did not contact any schools directly; our engagement in this regard is through each of the 11 district councils,”

They pointed out that the Council had said in their minutes: “On May 7th, 2019, the Council was invited to apply to the Your School, Your Club programme. Councils, rather than schools, were invited to apply on the basis that many eligible projects would already be in the planning and would require an element of Council support/co-operation.”