The Boys’ Brigade has unveiled the latest phase of its regeneration project on the site of the former Newport Primary School in Culcavy, near Hillsborough.
The building - the youth organisation’s Northern Ireland headquarters - now also offers high quality residential, training and conference facilities.
Utilising £50,000 from the Alpha Programme, which distributes funding four times per year through the Landfill Tax Credits Scheme, the third phase of the refurbishment project saw more than £200,000 invested in the creation of five dormitory-style rooms and training spaces.
The works to date have cost around £750,000 in total and the BB is continuing to raise funds for the fourth and final phase of the redevelopment, which will include the creation of a space for religious worship.
Welcoming the completion of the latest stage of the project, Drew Buchanan MBE, Chair of Newport Delivery Group of The Boys’ Brigade Northern Ireland District said: “We are thrilled to have completed phase three of our renovation and extension plan for our NI District Headquarters.
“Funding from the Alpha Programme has assisted us in this project to provide three dormitory style rooms, sleeping up to 12 in each, and two leaders/accessible rooms. We are very grateful for this valuable financial assistance.”
He continued: “The Boys’ Brigade is committed to seeing lives enriched by supporting children and young people to reach their full potential; providing opportunities to meet together and engage in a range of fun and developmental activities and experiences. There’s something for every young person whether it’s camping, mountaineering, kayaking, playing sport, and developing skills such as first aid, computer coding and leadership. Members build confidence, make friends, take responsibility and are encouraged to make a real difference in their communities – sharing the values that make us who we are.
“To enable all of this we provide a comprehensive training programme for boys and leaders – historically all provided in-house on our premises by trained volunteer leaders. We have a long tradition of residential training, which we can now continue at Newport, tried and tested over 125 years. Residential training is much valued by the organisation as a means to providing successive generations of trained and equipped BB leaders to service a current membership of just under 15,000 boys.”
Revealing that the new facility will also act as a modern hub for wider community use, Richard Rogers from Groundwork NI, which manages the Alpha Programme, said: “We are delighted to have been able to help the Boys’ Brigade bring this old school building back into productive use. We look forward to seeing this excellent new training and residential facility being used by youth and community organisations for many years to come.”
Applications for the next round of Alpha Programme funding close at 12 noon on Friday, April 20, 2018.
For further information log on to www.groundworkni.org.uk