North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party MLA Robin Swann has “warmly welcomed” news from the Education Minister that the Northern Health Trust has confirmed it will finance the much-needed hydrotherapy pool at the new Castle Tower school in Ballymena.
As Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning, Committee Chairman, Assemblyman Swann recently led a delegation of committee members and officials on a tour of Castle Tower.
Mr Swann, said: “So it now rests with the Finance Minister to approve the request.
“This decision will cost him nothing, but will be invaluable to not just the pupils of Castle Tower but the wider population.”
Mr Swann had posed a written question to the Education Minister asking what level of support his Department would provide for the installation of a hydro-therapy pool in the new build for the Special School.
In his response to Mr Swann, the Minister said: “My Department is content with the proposal to retain the hydrotherapy pool on the new school campus.
“The original approved Economic Appraisal (EA) did not include provision of hydrotherapy pool, as recurrent funding elements to be provided by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) could not be confirmed at that time.
“DE has now received confirmation from NSHCT that this funding will be provided and has requested DFP approval to the option contained in the EA to include the hydrotherapy pool,” the Minister told Mr Swann.
The announcement was also described as “exceptionally welcome news” by Mr Swann’s predecessor as North Antrim UUP MLA, the Rev Dr Robert Coulter MBE, who is also Castle Tower’s Chairman of the Board of Governors.