Causeway Chronicle

Coleraine FC Among Northern Ireland Grassroots Sports Projects To Receive Funding

As part of the continued drive to get more people active, the UK Government and the Irish FA have kicked off the year by announcing 17 projects across Northern Ireland are benefitting from a share of £2 million.

Coleraine FC has been awarded £400,000.00 for a new artificial grass pitch, fencing, gates, dugouts, and goalposts. 

Exercising more is the most common New Year’s resolution*, and the UK Government is giving hundreds of thousands more people across the UK the ability to keep their resolution and get active by delivering high-quality grassroots facilities.

From Coleraine to Newry, 17 projects will receive funding for state of the art 3G artificial grass pitches and brand new floodlights. Work is already underway on 14 of these projects, with the further three to commence imminently.

The projects being announced today will benefit from £2 million from the UK Government in 2023/24, with next year’s budget of £3.66 million already allocated too. 

Since 2021 the UK Government has used £1.3 million of funding to deliver 54 projects across Northern Ireland, with at least 50 per cent of investment to be spent in the most deprived and inactive local authorities.

UK Government Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“Sport and physical activity is vital to our mental health and wellbeing, and each year thousands of people make a New Year’s resolution to exercise more.

“We know that one of the major barriers in getting active is access to high-quality sports facilities, which is why we are delivering 17 new projects across Northern Ireland.  

“The UK Government and Irish FA have already delivered over 50 projects backed by £1.3 million to give local communities the high quality facilities they need.” 

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said: 

“Communities across Northern Ireland will have more spaces to come together, get fit and have fun thanks to this fantastic UK Government initiative.

“Access to high quality sports facilities boosts mental and physical health, and this scheme is sure to have a significant positive impact.”

Irish FA CEO Patrick Nelson said:

“Good grassroots football facilities means a better experience for everyone participating in the game, at whatever level they’re at.

“This funding will provide 11 new artificial grass pitches and upgrade six existing pitches across Northern Ireland. 

“It aligns with our commitment to support new and improved facilities and, with the hosting of the UEFA EURO 2028 in the UK and Ireland, it is crucial that the grassroots game across the nation benefits from investment too.” 

This funding in Northern Ireland will deliver 17 artificial grass pitch projects, and 12 sets of floodlights. Some of these projects have been awarded funding over a two year period. 

Some of the facilities in Northern Ireland to benefit from this year’s round of investment include:

  • Mountjoy Utd FC in Tyrone has received £400,000 for a brand new artificial grass pitch and floodlights.
  • Kilmore Recreation FC in Downpatrick have also received £400,000 for a brand new artificial grass pitch and floodlights.
  • Valley Rangers FC in Kilkeel has received over £230,000 for a pitch upgrade.
  • Rathmore Grammar School has received £180,000 for upgrades to its pitch and floodlights.

A full list of the facilities to benefit in Northern Ireland can be found here (live 27/01).

Since 2021, the UK Government has delivered new facilities or improvements at almost 2,400 sites across the UK aiming to get at least 120,000 more people active, through its £325 million programme. This investment is supporting grassroots clubs up and down the country, including women’s and girls teams.

The Government’s multi-sport grassroots facilities programme is investing in areas that are most in need of new or renovated facilities. Through the programme more high quality facilities are being made available for people to play football, rugby and other grassroots sports.

The UK Government recently published its new sport strategy to get 2.5 million more adults and one million more young people in England meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance of 150 minutes per week for adults, and 60 minutes per day for young people by 2030. 

To help reach this target, the projects being confirmed today are part of the Government’s unprecedented investment of over £400 million in grassroots facilities, including park tennis courts and swimming pools.

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Geoffrey Moffett