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Merville House set for new lease of life

Published on:  28 Apr 2006

One of Northern Ireland’s original gentleman’s seats will open its doors today as a new community resource centre.

Funded mainly by the International Fund for Ireland and Ulster Garden Villages the newly restored Merville House in Newtownabbey will provide a centre for economic, community and corporate activity at Merville Garden Village.  

The restoration project has been undertaken by cross community group Merville House Ltd with support from Belfast Local Strategy Partnership, Newtownabbey Borough Council, Newtownabbey Local Strategy Partnership and Abbey Retail Park as well as the International Fund for Ireland and Ulster Garden Villages.

The official opening is being celebrated with a weekend of back-to-back community activities at the house starting on Friday 28th April culminating in a May Day Fair on Bank Holiday Monday.

Welcoming the completion of the project, International Fund for Ireland Chairman Denis Rooney said, “I am delighted Merville House is now ready to be opened to the community. It has great historical and cultural significance and it is wonderful, that the House will now be the focus for a great many different community groups and commercial activities. The restoration of the House will not only have a tremendous positive impact on the area both socially and economically, by providing jobs and a safe environment for activities, but should act as a stimulant for further economic development in the area.”

Baroness Blood, said: “It is wonderful to see Merville House being brought back to life for the good of the community. A great many different groups will now be able to use the House and facilities for a wide variety of activities and are set to benefit from the completion of this project.”

Patricia Pepper, Chairperson of Merville House Ltd said, "Merville House is a unique heritage feature in Newtownabbey and has been both the geographical and community heart of Merville Garden Village for the past 50 years. We are delighted to be able to open the restored House once again, providing a superb centre for economic, community and corporate activity.  We are very appreciative of the interest and support of the local community and all of the funders involved in providing this much needed resource."

The renovation project, which began a year ago, involved the restoration of the front of the house as well as the demolition and rebuilding of the rear to provide community space for use by a wide range of groups and commercial lettings.

The house and individual rooms are available for hire by corporate clients for events by contacting Patricia Pepper at info@mervillehouse.com

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