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Senior peer backs Northern Ireland football club’s funding bid in House of Lords

Lord Rogan has strongly backed Coleraine Football Club’s Levelling Up Fund £16 million bid to redevelop their Ballycastle Road stadium including a community hub and training pitch for the use of local groups.

Playing in Northern Ireland’s premier division, Coleraine Football Club is owned by its fans and will reach its 100th anniversary in 2027.

The club is deemed by UEFA and the Irish Football Association to contribute more than £5.5 million into the local economy each year.

This figure will increase markedly should our application be successful.

Speaking in a House of Lords debate on Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, the Deputy Lord Speaker said he was delighted Jeremy Hunt had confirmed the UK Government’s intention to proceed with round two of the Levelling Up Fund, at least matching the £1.7 billion allocated in round one.

And Lord Rogan said he brought good news for Ministers about a high-quality bid relating to local football in Northern Ireland.

He told peers:

“Earlier this month, I was invited to visit Coleraine Football Club, on the stunning Causeway Coast, to hear more about its bid to redevelop its home ground, which is located between two wards within the top 10% most deprived areas of Northern Ireland.

“The planned works include a vibrant community hub, with meeting rooms for community events and classrooms for educational programmes.

“There will also be a 3G community training pitch with floodlighting, which will provide a real boost to youth football, both male and female.

He continued:

“I was pleased to see that the club’s application has attracted the support of all sides—I stress, all sides—and at every level of community, business, political and sporting life in the north-west of Northern Ireland, as well as from several former Northern Ireland Secretaries of State and other distinguished parliamentarians.”

Addressing Treasury Minister Baroness Penn, who was speaking for the UK Government in the high-profile debate, Lord Rogan said:

“I urge you to take an active interest in Coleraine Football Club’s bid, because it surely represents what the Government’s levelling-up agenda is all about.”

The outcome of round two of the Levelling Up Fund is expected to be announced later this month.

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Picture Lord Rogan (left) with Coleraine Football Club Chairman Colin McKendry on his recent visit to the Coleraine Showgrounds

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