The company bringing natural gas to Strabane is also delivering some extra festive cheer by providing a real Christmas tree for every school in the town as a seasonal goodwill gesture.
Christmas has come early for Strabane’s schools and colleges with a total of twelve 10ft trees donated by SGN Natural Gas across the various primary and post-primary campuses.
John Grant, Residential New Build Representative with SGN Natural Gas, explained that the company was keen to give something back to the local community as a token of appreciation for its support during ongoing development works to create the infrastructure for the new gas pipeline.
John explained: “Engagement with the local community and key stakeholders is a vital element of the work we do in every town. We greatly value the community links we have developed to date in Strabane and in all the other areas which are at the heart of the ‘Gas to the West’ project.
“We have previously visited a number of local schools to speak to the children about gas safety and the work which is continuing to bring natural gas to thousands of homes and businesses in Strabane and seven other towns in the western area.
“With Christmas fast approaching we thought it would be a great idea to bring some festive cheer to the schools in Strabane, especially at a time when education budgets are severely stretched. We were overwhelmed with the response to our offer to provide a real tree decorated with lights for every local primary and secondary school as well as North West Regional College, in conjunction with a competition to design a gas-themed decoration.”
The schools and colleges benefiting from the festive initiative all warmly welcomed the partnership with SGN Natural Gas, particularly the novelty for those now getting a real Christmas tree instead of an artificial one.
Mrs Bridget Wilders, Principal of St Catherine’s PS, said pupils and staff were very excited to see the Christmas trees going up in both their school sites at Newtownkennedy Street and Barrack Street.
She added: “We were only too delighted to take up the kind offer by SGN Natural Gas and also to get involved in the competition for the children to design a Christmas decoration so they can have fun being creative while learning about the benefits of natural gas as a new energy source for homes and businesses in their town.”
The initiative involves schools and colleges in the Strabane area including Artigarvan PS, Strabane Controlled PS, St Catherine’s PS, St. Mary’s PS, Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, GaelscoilUíDhochartaigh, Strabane Academy, Holy Cross College, and North West Regional College’s Strabane Campus at Derry Road.
Glenside Adult Training Centre will also be joining in the gas-themed festivities by taking part in the Christmas decoration competition.
In addition to the Christmas trees, SGN Natural Gas is also providing prizes of a computer tablet to the overall competition winner, with ‘In Strabane’ gift card vouchers for the lucky runners-up. Competition entries will be posted on the SGN Natural Gas Facebook page where people can vote for their favourites.
A total of £15 million has been invested to date to bring natural gas to Strabane, the first of eight towns to benefit from the £250m infrastructure investment. The donation of Christmas trees to the local schools is the latest community engagement initiative by SGN Natural Gas following its two-year sponsorship agreement with Derry City and Strabane District Council supporting the 2017 and 2018 Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon and Summer Jamm, two major highlights in the local events calendar.
SGN Natural Gas is scheduled to deliver mains gas and meters to 40,000 customers over the next 40 years in eight main towns in the western area including, Coalisland, Cookstown, Derrylin, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Magherafelt, Omagh and Strabane.