Norman Whiteside Sports Facility

Bringing communities together through sport

Wednesday 17th June 2015 was a proud day for the Norman Whiteside Sports Facility as they officially re-opened their new 3G synthetic pitch at Edenbrooke Primary School in Belfast.
Norman Whiteside Sports Facility

Where once there was a derelict piece of land, now stands an all-weather, multi-purpose facility that has become an important focal point for the local community, being used six days a week by a whole host of schools, sport clubs and youth groups.

The Norman Whiteside Sports Facility prides itself on its cross-community work, offering a range of sports programmes designed to bring young people together, promote healthy living and provide positive diversionary activities, particularly in times of high tension.

Nine years after Norman Whiteside Sports Facility first opened its gates in 2006, after near constant use, the original pitch had become increasingly damaged and dangerous to play on.


Fearing the facility would fall into disrepair and local people would lose an important community hub, the facility’s managers Aaron Harris and Colin Mcilwaine were determined to do everything in their power to ensure it remained open. Needing investment and looking for business support, they approached Sported for help.

Having previously awarded Norman Whiteside Sports Facility funding to train three of its members to become qualified football coaches, Sported continued its support by pairing the group with one of its volunteer business mentors – Seamus Carlin.

Seamus worked closely with Aaron and Colin over the next 18 months to develop a three-year business plan and funding strategy, and also helped the group formalise its status as a social enterprise.

With a robust business plan in place, Aaron and Colin were able to successfully negotiate with and secure funding from the Education Authority to rebuild the pitch and thus secure the future of the Norman Whiteside Sports Facility.