Situated in the former St. Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School in Barrack Street, Belfast, the premises have been synonymous with the provision of education since 1929 and was listed as a ‘Building of special architectural or historic interest’ by the Department of the Environment in August 2015.
Westcourt is a sub-committee of The Congregation of Christian Brothers of Northern Ireland (Registered Charity No: NIC102236). The charity owns and operates the centre, which is committed to providing an accessible community facility with a particular focus on young people who do not attend mainstream schools.
As part of the Edmund Rice Network, Westcourt is committed to working towards social justice by giving voice and support to people on the margins.
The centre attracts people from all sections of the community regardless of religious belief, social or ethnic background, disability, gender, age or political persuasion.
Westcourt is a unique learning community and houses a number of different organisations and projects all with a shared focus on education.
The Andersonstown Traditional & Contemporary Music School is a community based music project that provides opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate in music classes and activities throughout Belfast.
The school provides weekly music classes offering tuition in a wide range of instruments including tin whistle, violin, guitar, flute, bodhran, mandolin, tenor banjo, concertina, uillean pipes, piano and keyboards, electric and bass guitar, button keyed accordion, drum-kit and saxophone.
Edmund Rice Schools Trust (NI) Ltd is the trustee body responsible for eight schools in Belfast, Glengormley, Armagh, Newry and Omagh. These schools were formerly under the trusteeship of the Christian Brothers.
The Trust was launched on 2nd February 2009 (Registered Company No. NI070888 Registered Charity No. XT13490).
The Open Doors Learning Centre is an alternative education project for young people not attending mainstream education. The centre was established in 1998 to meet the needs of young people at greatest risk of social exclusion, experiencing difficulties with education, self-awareness and social and personal development.
Pupils are aged between 14-16 years old, and are and drawn on a co-education and cross community basis. Open Doors provides a range of academic, vocational and creative qualifications and programmes to enable young people to progress into further education, training and employment.
The Secondary Pupil Support Service, in partnership with the school, the home and other agencies, works to enable children who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties to fulfil their potential by providing high quality outreach interventions in schools and part time programmes of support at the Link Centre.
There are three main strands to the service – Outreach for Individual Pupils, Outreach for Whole Schools and Link Centre Placements.
The TOPS Project (Time Out for Positive Steps) is for pupils from mainstream schools who are unable to attend due to anxiety. It is a short-term programme that works with mainstream schools and health professionals to reintegrate pupils back to school. A CAMHS referral is necessary to avail of the programme.
Pupils come from all over Belfast from all sections of the community and all types of schools. The ethos is totally inclusive.
The main aim of this programme is to help pupils develop socially, emotionally and academically so that they feel able to return to and remain in mainstream school.
The centre offers a number of rooms and resources for hire for conference and presentation events, training programmes and workshops, board meetings, screenings, rehearsals and performances.
The flexible space can cater for groups of up to 100 people and the facilities include:
The Westcourt Centre
8-30 Barrack Street
Belfast BT12 4AH
Tel: 02890 323009