Great News! Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School will take place as planned in July!
Sadly, it was in serious jeopardy of collapsing due to funding issues - thank goodness common sense prevailed.
I met with Derek Rainey (Development Officer) on Friday afternoon in Belfast, in a last ditch attempt to save Loughries summer school from not taking place. We spoke for quite some time, going through all the issues and difficulties that Loughries as an Ulster Scots Community Group face, when planning a Summer School. I must say that Derek has a full grasp of what is needed when putting together an application for financial assistance, planning in detail the summer school, then encountering what may be described as a blockage in the funding process - Derek is from our community, live and works in our community and understands our community.
Loughries and Derek were keen to compromise, as Loughries summer school has been generally accepted as the Flagship Ulster Scots Summer School in Ulster. It has taken 5 years of hard work and dedication to get the summer school up to that standard, however thanks must go to our wonderful staff, fantastic school facilities, supportive school principal and Board of Governors, great parents and wonderful children.
Our Chairman, Cllr Hamilton Gregory (who has just been elected to Deputy Mayor of Ards Borough Council) did not want the summer school to fail. It is the only Ulster Scots summer school in the Ards Borough Council and the Westminster Constituency of Strangford. Well I could go on and on about the importance and significance of the summer school, however to sum up this is fantastic news for everyone connected to the Ulster Scots Tradition in 'The Ards' - we now look forward to planning and participating in this summer school on 25th - 29th July 2011.
Also, Loughries have agreed to run a Pilot Ulster Scots Residential Summer School in August, for slightly older children - more news on that later!