Upgraded floodlights for Cooke and Instonians through Whitemountain Programme

Upgraded floodlights for Cooke and Instonians through Whitemountain Programme
Ian Dickie, SBSA; David Cartmill, SBSA; Niamh-Anne McNally, Whitemountain; Richard Irvine, Senior VP Cooke Rugby Club; David Johnston, Ulster Rugby; Angelica Florez, Groundwork NI; and Michael Hunter, SBSA

Shaw’s Bridge Sports Association has revealed exciting development plans to help improve sport facilities in the local area, thanks to a £50k funding package from the Whitemountain Programme.

With the £50k grant, the club will be able to upgrade their current floodlights. The current lack of adequate lighting disrupts and restricts evening pitch use from October to March.

SBSA is a community organisation formed following a ground-sharing agreement between Cooke Rugby and Sports Association and Instonians Rugby Football Club. The current facility hosts other sports, including cricket, hockey, and American football. SBSA works in partnership with local schools, with over 200 children engaged in the mini rugby section.

Richard Irvine, SBSA Senior Vice-President, remarked, “The current floodlights were over 30 years old and in urgent need of refurbishment. Thanks to funding from the Whitemountain Programme, we can replace these lights with a modern, energy efficient and environmentally friendly model. The most important outcome will be the improvement of the training and playing conditions, as it will soon be safer for players to use the pitch during the darker months.  We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ulster Rugby for their guidance and support throughout the process.”

Overall, this project will be key to providing much needed improvements to the sports complex in the Shaw’s Bridge area. Another benefit includes a reduction of the Sport Association’s carbon footprint by converting the current halogen bulbs to LED lights, which are almost five times more efficient.

Commenting on the latest funding round Niamh-Anne McNally, Whitemountain Communications Officer, said, “We are delighted to support projects rooted in the community. Funding for Shaw’s Bridge Sports Association will increase use of the current facility, which will result in further community participation, including young people and women in sport. After a successful 2019, with over 30 projects receiving over £1.4 million in funding from the Whitemountain Programme, we are looking forward to funding new projects this year.”

Angelica Florez, Projects Lead at Groundwork NI added, “Located just off the Lagan towpath, the SBSA facilities are a great spot where the community can engage in many different sports. Thanks to the upgrade of the floodlights on the main pitch, the site will become safer, as well as opening the possibility of hosting high profile matches and competitions.”

For full details of the Whitemountain Programme, including 2020 application deadlines, please visit Groundwork Northern Ireland’s website at www.groundwork.org.uk/whitemountain.

If your rugby club would like more information or support with securing funding for facility developments, please contact Ulster Rugby Funding Manager, David Johnston david.johnston@ulsterrugby.com.