THE Community Learning Centre at Ballyoran Primary School was officially opened by the Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland.
The new facility comprises an ICT Suite, multi purpose Community Room, Interview Room, toilets, changing rooms and baby changing facilities.
The Community Learning Centre is used by the school during the day and is available for the local community to use both inside and outside school hours. Blossom Surestart are already using the community room three days each week to house one of their In Tune Programmes for Two Year olds and the school has hosted an ICT Beginner’s Course for adults.
Mr McCausland said, “Ballyoran Primary School is well known for its welcoming, friendly atmosphere and its happy, caring, safe and stimulating learning environment and I am pleased to experience this at first hand this morning.
“Too many people continue to experience barriers to employment because of a lack of qualifications. I am determined to help remove these barriers. Education is one of the issues which must be addressed if we are to tackle the cycle of deprivation in the three Neighbourhood Renewal Areas in Craigavon, and greater parental involvement in children’s educational development is a key factor.
“The Community Learning Centre at Ballyoran Primary School will not only facilitate such engagement but it will also provide a local venue through which parents might be encouraged to undertake adult education courses in more familiar surroundings.”
The centre, costing in excess of £140,000, was financed through the Department for Social Development’s Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund, with an in kind contribution of approximately £13,000 from the Southern Education and Library Board.
The Minister concluded, “To date my Department has assisted the Southern Education and Library Board and the Southern Regional College to provide a range of education and training programmes in the three Neighbourhood Renewal Areas in the Borough of Craigavon. These programmes span the entire age spectrum, from primary school, to secondary school to adult education. I am confident they will help address the economic, educational and social problems facing residents in these communities and will, in time, contribute to an increase in prosperity and quality of life.”
Principal Mr Richard Woolsey thanked the many people who had supported him in making the vision of a Community Learning Centre at Ballyoran Primary School a reality. He paid tribute to the Portadown Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership and in particular its chairperson Mrs Margaret Connolly who was pivotal in bringing this project to fruition. He also thanked Mrs Nicola Mitchell, project officer from the SELB for her support.
Mr Woolsey added, “Ballyoran Primary School is a school at the centre of the community, it exists to serve the people of this community and we are very excited about the opportunities that this new facility gives us to further strengthen the links with the local community.”
Anyone wishing to book the new centre should contact the school office.