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Workspace celebrates 25 years with opening of Backrow Recreation Centre

Local schools, clubs and social and community groups will all benefit from an investment worth almost £1million in a cross community sports facility in Co Derry – being officially opened today.

The new Back Row Sports Hall in Draperstown is funded by £730k from the Big Lottery Fund’s PE and Sport programme, £30K from the London Drapers’ Company and over £125K raised by the local community. It officially opens its doors on 9 April to local primary schools from both sides of the community, the local secondary schools as well as the wider community including sporting and other groups.


Workspace Chief Executive Brian Murray said: “Although this project has taken a while to come to fruition it has been worth the wait. We are delighted the Big Lottery Fund has got behind such an important community centred facility, and we also are delighted at the response of the London Draper’s Company and the generosity of the local community. It has been a combined effort and we look forward to all the local school kids making use of the facility as well as the local clubs and other sporting groups that do so much for the people of the area.

Breidge Gadd, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “I am delighted to be in Draperstown to launch the superb Back Row Sports Hall facility. I am sure that local pupils and the entire local community will enjoy the benefits of it.”

She continued: “The National Lottery grant shows how investing money in sports facilities available both to schools and local people can transform the quality of life in communities. The PE and Sport programme is already having a major impact on tackling disadvantage and bringing positive changes to people of all ages across Northern Ireland. The new facilities at the Back Row Sports Hall are the next step in bringing greater access to physical activity to many more people.”

Roisin McKenna, Principal of St Colm’s High School in Draperstown said:
“The Sports Hall is a fabulous addition to our existing facilities. We are absolutely delighted to have access to the Hall, and it means we can broaden the range of physical activities we offer the pupils at St.Colm’s with all the attendant benefits for their health. This large venue also gives us the opportunity to host inter school events”


Mr Stephen Foakes Master of the London Drapers’ company said:

“We have had a long standing and historic association with Draperstown and we are delighted to be in a position to help fund such a landmark facility. For many years we lost our direct links with Draperstown – that is no longer the case as we have a very healthy and rewarding relationship with the local community that has led to our direct involvement in initiatives such as this.”

Ann Crossett, Principal of Kilross Primary school said:

“This is a true cross community initiative. The children will really enjoy going over to the Back Row Sports Hall and really, it’s the sort of facility we would never have been able to build ourselves but to have the use of it is unbelievable – and we will make good use of it!”

This centre will be a catalyst in Draperstown, introducing a range of new opportunities to the town.  Workspace have appointed a Recreation Manager who is already putting in place a whole range of sporting and recreational activities for all of the local community to avail of.