School sport across the Province is set to receive a welcome boost following the launch of a £250,000 small grants programme by Sport Northern Ireland.

Aiming to increase participation in sport and help develop club links, the Active Schools programme, is open to primary and post primary schools registered with the Northern Ireland Department of Education.

The focus of the programme is to support projects that provide opportunities for children and young people to take part in extra-curricular sport and physical recreation, especially in areas of high social need.

Acting Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Nick Harkness, explains: “Many schools are doing fantastic work in providing extra-curricular sport and physical recreation for their pupils and we want to support them.

“We hope that this programme will have a positive impact on young people from schools based in areas of high social deprivation and those schools who have a high percentage of students from Neighbourhood Renewal areas.

“These after-school activities give thousands of children and young people the chance to take up sports they may never have played before; helping them to discover that sport really does offer something for everyone. Getting involved in after-school sport and physical recreation is an important step towards developing a healthy lifestyle and continuing participation into adulthood.”

All schools must demonstrate links with local sports clubs or Governing Bodies of sport within their application.

A series of information sessions will be held in early September to help guide potential applicants through the process:

  • 16 September 2013- Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry/Londonderry: 12.00pm-1.00pm
  • 17 September 2013- Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena: 12.00pm-1.00pm
  • 18 September 2013- Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Craigavon: 12.00pm-1.00pm
  • 19 September 2013 – Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh: 12.00pm-1.00pm
  • 20 September 2013- House of Sport, Belfast: 10.30am-12.00pm and 2.30pm-4.00pm

To register for any of the above information sessions, please email Joseph Donnelly josephdonnelly@sportni.net no later than 4.00pm on the day before the information session.

For more information and to apply for the Active Schools programme, please visit www.sportni.net/funding/activeschools

All applications must be submitted no later than 12.00noon on Friday 4 October and all projects must take place and be fully invoiced on/before Monday 31st March 2014.