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Ulster Support Opening Of New Ballyclare HS Gym

Ulster Support Opening Of New Ballyclare HS Gym

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Ulster Rugby’s joint initiative to support rugby in schools has seen Ballyclare High School benefit from a modern, high-specification purpose-built strength and conditioning gym.

Ulster Rugby has installed gym equipment at 14 venues province-wide as part of the ‘Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport’ programme, funded by DCAL.
Lewis Stevenson and Ricky Lutton, Ulster stars and ex-pupils of Ballyclare High School, were in attendance at the official opening along with the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Thomas Hogg, to unveil the new facilities.

The County Antrim school has officially named the fitness centre the ‘Knox Gym’, in recognition of retiring headmaster, David Knox, who is stepping down after 15 years as Principal with the progressive grammar. 
Knox commented: “I am honoured that the gym has been named the Knox Gym. This facility will build on the sporting excellence offered by Ballyclare High School, enhancing the intensive training regimes already in place for our sports and track teams.
“We committed to the DCAL/Ulster Rugby scheme three years ago and are delighted that it has resulted in this excellent facility, which can be used by all of our pupils. We are extremely grateful to DCAL and Ulster Rugby for working so closely with us regarding the build and its contents.”

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John Kinnear, Ulster Rugby President, said: “We’re delighted to be able to contribute to this fantastic project. One of our key organisational goals is to improve health and wellbeing among all age groups and I believe the installation of gym equipment at sites such as Ballyclare High School is a great way to achieve that.
“Our community gym initiative will see the refurbishment of 15 gyms in total across the province and is a key aspect of our plans to increase opportunities for people to engage with fitness and rugby sessions. I’d like to thank the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure for their continued support in helping us expand rugby in both traditional and non-traditional areas.”
Mike McKeever, rugby coach at Ballyclare High School, added: “The aim of rugby at the school is to provide a rewarding and positive environment in which players can develop their skills. We have at least two teams at each age group who all play fixtures regularly from September through to March.  
“There is an extensive training programme for all players delivered by staff and a number of former pupils who return to offer their expertise. All players have a clear pathway to develop their technical, tactical and mental abilities and we believe that the experiences gained from committing to a team sport will develop many skills that the pupils will find beneficial in future life.
“The state-of-the-art facility is a bright space which comprises heavy weights, track machines, pullies and rowing machines. It will allow us to focus on the strength and conditioning aspects of training while also freeing up space in the former school gym for other physical education purposes.”
Ballyclare High School has 1210 pupils and a teaching staff of 85. It is a progressive grammar school in which there has been a high level of investment in resources and training, creating a culture in which learning and communication are enriched and expectations of achievement are raised.