Minister Hargey announces over £1.3m for public realm school improvements

Date published: 17 February 2021

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced funding of £1.37m to 15 Primary and Nursery schools throughout Belfast.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey

The funding will transform the outdoor play areas, improve school facilities and enhance the learning experience for children and young people. 

The Department for Communities has allocated the funding to the Education Authority who are delivering the projects which are due to be completed by March 2021.


Minister Hargey said:

“I am pleased that the Department has been able to fund these very worthwhile projects.  While children are studying remotely at the moment, these facilities will provide sources of fun and enjoyment for them returning to their school environment.”


The works will vary based on school requirements and will include soft landscaping, new play equipment, replacement of fencing and gating to improve and enhance the appearance of the schools, creating/improving safe outdoor play areas for the children to learn, develop and play.                                                    

The Minister continued:

“Play is an integral part of building social skills from a young age.  It is where lessons of fairness, friendship and team building are learnt.  It is also important for promoting active and healthy lifestyles in children.  These projects will create a safe environment for children to have access to play whilst improving their health and wellbeing.


“Of course, projects like this do not happen on their own and this is an excellent example of the public sector coming together to deliver benefits for this local community.”


Roger Sayers, the Education Authority’s Assistant Director for Operations and Estates, said 

“The Education Authority is delighted to be able to work in partnership with the Department for Communities to deliver new play and outdoor education facilities at fifteen schools across Belfast. This exciting investment will enhance both learning and play opportunities for nursery and primary pupils and will undoubtedly contribute positively to the physical and mental wellbeing of thousands of children.”


The funding from the Department for Communities is provided through its Public Realm and Environmental Improvement Programme and working in collaboration with the Department of Education.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The 15 schools identified by the Education Authority for improvements are:-
  • Ballysillan PS     
  • Blackmountain PS
  • Botanic PS
  • Brefne NS
  • Carr’s Glen PS
  • Donegall Rd PS
  • Holy Family PS
  • Hope NS
  • Malvern PS
  • Sacred Heart PS
  • Springfield PS
  • St. Anne’s PS
  • St. Malachy’s PS & NS
  • St. Martin’s NS
  • St. Michael’s NS
  1. Further information on the schemes is available by contacting Colm Bradley at the Education Authority press office on 079 64564965 or email
  2. Media enquiries to DFC Press Office.  
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  4. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI

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