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Elite Facilities Programme


Northern Ireland Olympic/Paralympic Sports


The London 2012 Olympics/Paralympic Games (The Games) will act as a catalyst for the development of sport in the UK.  Government recognised the importance of the regions in securing the London bid and Northern Ireland must maximise on the opportunities presented by an Olympic/Paralympic Games  ‘on its doorstep’ to provide a sustainable legacy for sport in Northern Ireland. 

Specifically, through the Games there is an opportunity to develop Northern Ireland’s sporting infrastructure, achieve parallel development and address a lack of investment which has restricted the progress of sport in the region.  At the same time, Northern Ireland can capitalise on the London Games to develop the level of its sporting performers, improve coaching, increase overall participation in sport, regenerate urban and rural areas and improve the image of Northern Ireland internationally.

The development of sporting provision in Northern Ireland, as a result of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will mirror the aspirations established by London and will deliver a similar range of benefits including regional development, increased participation in sport, improved standards of excellence, a healthier population, social cohesion and sustainability.


The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the catalyst to develop sport in every region of the UK and in Northern Ireland approximately £50 million has been earmarked to address some of the infrastructure deficit which has contributed to the underdevelopment of sports in Northern Ireland.   

The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure has asked Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) to deliver this programme on their behalf.


The priorities of the Elite Facilities Programme are:



The programme also aims to:


  • address the infrastructural deficit in Northern Ireland;
  • regenerate urban and rural areas; and
  • improve the image of Northern Ireland.


Monitoring and Evaluation Guide (pdf, 122k)

Elite Facilities Programme - Stage One


The Elite Facilities Programme (EFP) was launched in two tranches; the 50m swimming pool competition and the other Olympic/Paralympic sports competition. Stage One of both tranches required the submission of an application form that was subjected to an assessment against eligibility and assessment criteria by SNI.

The EFP was open to 21 Olympic sports, including:

1. Swimming; 12. Judo/Taekwondo;
2. Cycling (Trcak); 13. Sailing;
3. Tennis; 14. Equestrian;
4. Boxing; 15. Fencing;
5. Athletics; 16. Gymnastics;
6. Hockey; 17. Shooting;
7. Badminton; 18. Table Tennis
8. Basketball; 19. Volleyball;
9. Canoeing; 20. Weightlifting;
10. Cycling; 21. Rowing.
11. Cycling (Mountain Biking);  


Stage one applications were welcome from either public, private, governing bodies of sport, club or community based organisations.  Applicant organisations were required to meet the minimum technical, operational and high performance needs of the relevant sport’s governing body/ies. Details of the assessment framework may be found in the Stage One Information and Guidance Booklet. 

Guidance Booklet  


Elite Facilities Programme – Strategic Business Case:


Following Stage One of the Elite Facilities Programme, Sport Northern Ireland prepared a Strategic Business Case, which made the case for increased capital funding for elite facilities in Northern Ireland.  This Strategic Business Case was based on the needs identified from the Stage One applications and made the case for an investment of £87M.  The programme budget was initially and provisionally set at up to £53M, however Sport Northern Ireland is now pleased to note that the Strategic Business Case (SBC) for £87M has now been approved by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).

(This figure includes up to £15M for the 50 metre swimming pool project).

However the SBC approval is not yet confirmation of the final budget, that is a matter for DCAL and DFP, in light of competing demands and available budgets, at the time of each Investment Decision (post Full Business Case). Up until that point applicant organisations must proceed in the competition at their own risk, although some directly attributable development costs can be funded retrospectively, subject to the necessary approvals.


Elite Facilities Programme - Stage Two:


Short-listed applicant organisations have now been invited to progress to Stage Two of this competition.  The Stage Two applicant organisations are as follows:


Applicant Name

Brief description of facility type

Lisburn City Council



Gymnastics Centre of Excellence

Belfast City Council

Velodrome - Multi sports

Grosvenor Grammar School


Belfast City Council

Athletics Centre

Antrim Borough Council

Indoor Athletics

Carrickfergus Sailing Club


Craigavon Borough Council (Outdoor Facility)

Rowing Straight/Canoe/Slalom

Adfinch Merchants Ltd


Meadows Equestrian

Equestrian Centre of Excellence

Coleraine Academical Institution (Indoor Facility)

Indoor training tank

Ballyholme Yacht Club


Down District Council


McAleer and Rushe Ltd

Tennis Centre

(NB The 50m pool project has progressed to Stage Three)


The Stage Two application will serve two purposes; it will provide information for assessment by Sport Northern Ireland to identify preferred bidders and if successful, it will provide an Outline Business Case for evaluation by Sport Northern Ireland, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and the Department of Finance and Personnel. 


The deadline for Stage Two submission is
on the 28th November 2008.

Contact address:

Elite Facilities Programme

c/o Sports Northern Ireland

House of Sport

Upper Malone Road

Belfast, BT9 5LA

e-mail: [email protected]



Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure




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Last modified: Friday 8th August, 2008.