Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie commended the work of Ballyclare Community Concerns as she officially unveiled their new premises today.
Foundry House, a state-of-the-art building on Doagh Road, provides 700 square metres of office, retail and community space and is a replacement for the temporary building from which the organisation had previously operated. One of a number of funders, the Department for Social Development (DSD) provided almost £300,000 towards the overall cost of the project through the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy.
The Minister said: “Ballyclare Community Concerns have made an invaluable contribution to the local community over the past sixteen years. Already, people can avail of advice services, youth facilities, lunch club and a Credit Union to name just a few. This wonderful new building will allow them to expand the range of services they provide.
“The successful letting of the office and retail space also has the potential to create new jobs for the area which is vitally important. The Foundry House project is pivotal to the further economic regeneration of Ballyclare and hopefully will act as a lever for further development and investment.”
Tom Gray Chairman of Ballyclare Community Concerns said: “A landmark building, Foundry House has been achieved with generous funding from the Department for Social Development (DSD), International Fund for Ireland (IFI), Newtownabbey Local Strategy Partnership and Newtownabbey Borough Council. This will provide the impetus for enhanced community activity in Ballyclare and permit Ballyclare Community Concerns to build a successful and self sustaining future.”
Speaking at the launch Alexander Smyth, Joint Director General of the International Fund for Ireland which contributed £300,000 to the project said: “We are delighted to have assisted Ballyclare Community Concerns in completing this tremendous project. The opening of these new premises will allow Ballyclare Community Concerns to fulfil their aim of improving the quality of life for people in Ballyclare and the surrounding area. The new multi-purpose space now enables the group to offer services that can meet both the social and economic needs of the community and we wish everyone involved every success for the future."
Newtownabbey Borough Council provided £100,000 to the scheme. Alderman Nigel Hamilton, Mayor of Newtownabbey commented: “Newtownabbey Borough Council is delighted to see this important project realised. It is in no small part an achievement made possible through the 50% funding from the European Union’s Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme. The building will provide an essential asset as a community facility, given its location and design. It provides a much needed and sustainable opportunity as an attracter of commercial enterprise in Ballyclare. Newtownabbey Borough Council recognises the importance of social economy to a project of this nature and we believe Ballyclare Community Concerns will be well placed to attract this aspect of growth to this fine building.”
Lynn Frazer, Chair of Newtownabbey Local Strategy Partnership said: “Newtownabbey LSP were delighted to fund Ballyclare Community Concerns £70,000 under the Peace 2 programme for their new community building. The LSP would like to congratulate Ballyclare Community Concerns on their completion of this ambitious project and wish them continued success with future projects.”
Pat McCudden, Chairman of Ballyclare Community Enterprises added: “I am delighted to have been involved in the planning and construction of this excellent facility. My thanks go to the funders and the construction team, also the centre manager, her team and the committee who have all worked so hard to make this dream a reality.”
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