Carrickfergus Rugby Club £50k closer to community hub goal

Former British and Irish Lion Willie John McBride and Ulster Rugby's John Cooney join William McKeown, president of Carrick RFC  and Richard Rogers, from the Alpha Programme, to celebrate the funding award.
Former British and Irish Lion Willie John McBride and Ulster Rugby's John Cooney join William McKeown, president of Carrick RFC and Richard Rogers, from the Alpha Programme, to celebrate the funding award.

A £50,000 funding award will enable Carrickfergus Rugby Club to move closer to its goal of becoming a community sports hub.

The financial boost from the Alpha Programme will be used to double the size of the five existing changing rooms to make them fit for purpose and allow the club to meet growing demand for its facilities.

It will also allow Carrick RFC to re-configure some under utilised spaces to provide a fitness and exercise room for community use and to improve disabled access.

The initiative will also benefit Castle Ladies Hockey Club, Knockagh Cycling Club, Carrick Grammar School, St Nicholas’ Primary School and Sunnylands Primary School, amongst others.

William McKeown, chairman of Carrick RFC, said: “We are delighted with the news that the club has received funding. It will make a huge difference to us and the local community, ensuring our facilities can be used to their full potential.

“A lot of work went into the preparation of this bid and I’d like to thank the club members involved and the IRFU Ulster Branch for their support throughout the process.”

Niamh-Anne McNally, from Alpha Resource Management, said: “Investment in sporting facilities is key to engaging and encouraging the next generation, and these improvements to the changing rooms will ensure that they are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the club’s growing number of users.”

Launched in 2008, the Alpha Programme has distributed almost £6 million through the Landfill Communities Fund to projects bringing positive change to communities within a 15-mile radius of the landfill site at Mullaghglass on the outskirts of Lisburn.

Richard Rogers, who oversees the programme for Groundwork NI, said: “We were very impressed by the club’s commitment to making their facilities a hub for community sport, and hope that this support will be another significant step in helping them deliver a centre of excellence for the sporting community in Carrick.”

Applications for the next round of Alpha Programme funding close on Friday, July 26 2019. Anyone considering applying is encouraged to contact Richard Rogers at alphaprogramme@groundworkni.co.uk to discuss their application prior to submission.