Power NI’s Ciara helps Newtownabbey’s St James PS secure technology grant

Ciara Moane has secured a £500 Power NI technology grant for Primary School based at King’s Walk in Newtownabbey.

Ciara’s god-daughter Clara Morton and her brother Jack are both pupils at St James’ primary.

Ciara works for Energia Group of which Power NI is part of, and the energy supplier has rolled out a £25K #MorePowerfulTogether employee initiative enabling 50 schools and nurseries throughout Northern Ireland to each receive £500 via a community focused Staff Fund initiative.

Power NI staff were asked to nominate a school or nursery in their locality who they felt would really benefit from cash support to help the teachers, pupils and their families purchase devices, data and connectivity.

A focus for the school this year has been developing children’s coding skills to enthuse and inspire their young people to become future innovators. Work has been done both in school and remotely through home learning in partnership with Nerve Belfast Creative Learning Centre.

Via their Power NI funding grant the school were able to purchase ‘Sphero Bolts’ programmable robot balls which pupils can drive and code to perform various different tasks. Children are therefore able to be creative and have fun whilst developing their programming, coding and STEM skills.

Ciara Moane says: “Family and community means so much to all of us all and it’s fantastic that Power NI enables us to provide support to schools like St James’ Primary.

Jack and Clara’s great grandfather (my own Grandfather) worked for NIE so this funding is particularly special to us all as we know how proud he would be and grateful that the future generations are being so well supported. The Sphero Bolts make learning fun and encourage a love of coding which will be invaluable in the future (I wish Sphero’s existed in my own school days!). Maybe one of these children will be a future Power NI employee and teach us all they know about coding and nano technology.”

Thanking Power NI for the support grant, school Principal Mrs Paula Cunningham says:

“We are delighted to have been awarded £500 from the #MorePowerfulTogether Fund for ICT resources.  This will certainly help increase our resources and develop our children’s creativity, programming, coding and STEM skills all whilst having fun.”

Gwyneth Compston, Power NI’s CSR Manager explains the rationale behind the scheme:

“Staff have always been an integral part of our community support programmes and this latest programme dovetails perfectly with our current role as a Business in the Community NI Digital Donations partner. We work closely with BITC (NI) on a whole range of community and sustainability projects, and we wanted to give staff the opportunity to offer practical help to their school communities.

“Digital access was a huge problem before the COVID pandemic struck, but the past year has really brought it to the fore. We’d like to thank all our staff for their nominations – they are very much appreciated. With most people currently working from home the initiative has really brought us all together with a common goal.

“We hope this contribution from Power NI and its staff will go some way to helping more children achieve their potential and go forward confidently and competently into the future world.”

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