Bleary school to be £350k creative hub

Cllr Mark O'Dowd outside Bleary Old School INLM1713 006
Cllr Mark O'Dowd outside Bleary Old School INLM1713 006

AN old derelict school in Bleary is to be transformed into a new £350k creative hub, it has been revealed.

The major cash injection was announced on Monday after months of work by Craigavon Borough Council to secure the funding.

The old primary school at Bleary crossroads is to become a Creative Community Centre with opportunities for new businesses and talent to network and exhibit.

Welcoming the decision Sinn Fein Councillor Mark O’Dowd praised council officials for their hard work in accessing the cash.

He said: “Full credit must go to the staff members and officers of council who as a result of their initiative and hard work secured over £300,000 in funding for this project. Council have agreed to invest a further £50,000 of rate-payers monies in the transformation of this building.

“This is a welcome and exciting development which will see an old school that has lain empty for several decades turned into a Creative Centre for the benefit of the whole community.”

Councillor O’Dowd said the new centre would provide scope for the district’s young and in some cases, not so young entrepreneurs to develop and put substance to their creativity. He also expressed his desire to see it become a focal point for the local rural and village population. “When completed it will also provide a range of services and training programmes for the benefit of local people.”

According to the Council the ethos of the project was the bringing together of two of Council’s strategic themes; growing the economy and enhancing the quality of life for its citizens with a “focus on creating opportunities to stimulate growth and competitiveness in key growth sectors”, in this case the Creative Sector.

The Bleary Creative Community Centre would us the old school building to bring about a new multipurpose, meeting place that would facilitate a growing creative economy.

The new centre would also provide ICT skills training for rural dwellers, work placement opportunities for local people with creative businesses based at the centre, a focus for students and others living in the area, seminars and courses specialising in the creative arts and the positive impacts they could make on health and wellbeing.

There would also be a creche and childcare facilities on site.

The project expects to use two thirds of the site, with the other third remaining for future council use.