Lottery Fund boost for Portrush playgroup

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A Coleraine community organisation will be able to save money during the recession and increase the activities it runs in its venue thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Portrush Community Playgroup is one of 15 groups across Northern Ireland awarded grants totalling almost £130,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme.

The programme, which is now closed for applications, offers Lottery cash to local groups to carry out improvements to their community venues so they make savings on their heating and lighting costs and cut down on their spending.

The playgroup, based in a mobile classroom at Portrush Primary School, has been awarded a grant of £9,912 to insulate the roof and walls of their building, replace the existing doors and upgrade the lighting.

Committee member Brendan Patterson said the mobile unit had deteriorated since it was put up 17 years ago.

“It is quite draughty and can be cold in the unit,” he said. “We get some stormy weather in Portrush and our heating costs are high, yet the heat has been going straight back out of the building because there has never been any insulation.

“We have children in the playgroup from the age of three up and we want them to be as comfortable as possible. Making these improvements will also keep our ongoing costs down so we can continue to make childcare affordable for local parents. This is a really good scheme and has made such a difference for groups like ourselves.”

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair said: “The Energy Efficient Venues programme supports community organisations to carry out energy efficiency improvements to their venues that help them make savings during this difficult period of recession, and have a positive effect on the environment.

He continued: “This has been a very popular programme and we have awarded grants to a range of organisations across Northern Ireland. Organisations should be aware that the programme is now closed for applications.”