19th June 2012
By Ruairi Donnelly, Funding Officer, Big Lottery Fund
It may be June, but sunny days are as rare as hens teeth at present and with that in mind I set off to the wilds of Kilrea with a Big Lottery Fund umbrella safely stowed away in the boot of the car. I needn’t have worried though as my destination (the Woodhall Residential Centre in Kilrea) was positively basking in the heat.
I parked up the car and met up with Master Kelly (St. Columba’s Primary School, Kilrea) (or Francie as he insisted I call him) who told me about how the Awards for All project had been instrumental in helping to invigorate the young minds of the pupils from 5 local primary/nursery schools.
He spoke with great vigour about the project and teachers from the local schools agreed with Paula McCormick (St. Columba’s Primary School, teacher) who commented on how she could see a “dramatic difference when the pupils returned to the classroom and reported back on their time spent at Woodhall.”
The participating schools came together with key partners to celebrate the outworking of the project to date and to mark the successful impact of the Awards for All grant.
The school were awarded £9,333 from Awards for All last year to run educational, recreational, and social activities for primary and nursery children aged between 3 and 11 years old in the Kilrea area, of Coleraine.
The project engaged young children in an outdoor environmental project and I was able to see how the children were tasked with insect identification, exploration of the natural environment, learning through play, activities including; digging, planting, and examining wildlife. The resources are stored in a secure shed at Woodhall provided through the Awards for All funding and are accessible by all the schools involved in the project. The project also provided funding for transport, waterproof clothing, outdoor play equipment and resources to record work undertaken at the residential centre.
I’d like to offer my thanks to the school for inviting me along to see firsthand how successful the project has been and to bring to life how our funding is making a real difference to local beneficiaries.