Schools apply for synthetic pitch funding

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WHITEHOUSE Primary School and Newtownabbey Community High School have applied to the council to help operate a new synthetic pitch, should they get the funding to build it.

Both schools have applied to the Social Investment Fund to help get the plan to build a floodlit synthetic sports pitch off the ground.

The £250,000 project, which was first mooted over five years ago, was shelved by the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) in 2012 amid concerns over the business plan relating to the running of the facility and the potential financial risk to the budgets of both schools.

Last year governors from both the schools held a meeting to explore potential funding options.

At this month’s Environment Committee meeting the schools applied to the council to support them in the running of the facility to allow it to be used by the public, which was approved by councillors “in principle”.

Newtownabbey Community High principal, John Lewis said: “I can confirm that the two schools (Newtownabbey Community High and Whitehouse Primary) have submitted a bid to the Social Investment Fund for capital funding for a full size, floodlit 3g pitch.

“This submission was made in the autumn of 2012 and our project is one of a number, that has been advanced for economic appraisal.

“Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed to support ‘in principle’ the provision of a 3g pitch and it is hoped that this support will extend to the management of the facility after school hours.

“This partnership will be subject to the approval of the NEELB and the negotiation of a suitable and acceptable service level agreement.”