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Ballyclare community benefits from £660,000 new centre

Published on:  06 Feb 2006

Ballyclare’s community groups will get a boost from a new centre being built in the town at a cost of £663,150.

International Fund for Ireland Chairman Denis Rooney today launched a project to build a new centre for community activities in the heart of Ballyclare.

A total of £663,150 has been provided to Ballyclare Community Enterprises Ltd through the International Fund for Ireland, the Department for Social Development, Newtownabbey Borough Council and Newtownabbey Local Strategic Partnership to build a 700sq m mixed use facility.  Over half of the new building will be dedicated to community activities, with the remaining space housing offices and three retail units.  Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2006.  Services for community groups and users of the existing premises will continue during the work from Ballyclare Community Concern’s temporary premises at Rashee Road. 

Announcing International Fund for Ireland support of £300,000 for the project, the Fund Chairman Denis Rooney said, "This is a tremendous project and we are delighted that our offer of assistance has enabled Ballyclare Community Concerns to lever the additional funding required from other sources in order to complete the project. The project will replace the existing temporary building to provide a permanent structure comprising retail and office accommodation to be rented, which in turn will provide the group with an income, together with community space which will accommodate all of the existing provision and allow the expansion of key services to meet demand."

Speaking at today’s launch, Henry Johnston, Regional Development Director in the Department for Social Development said, “This project is an excellent example of funding bodies working together with the local community to bring about real benefits for local people.  The new centre will provide a boost to the work of groups such as the Alzheimers Society, PAPA and the Luncheon Clubs and will allow services to be expanded reaching even more people within the district.”

Noreen McClelland, chair of Newtownabbey Local Strategic Partnership said, “The LSP is delighted to contribute to a project that will benefit the entire community of Ballyclare.  This project is a great example of a social economy project and meets all criteria of the Peace II Programme.”

Tom Gray, chair of Ballyclare Community Concerns said, “Opportunities like this come rarely.  The generosity of our funders in financing this new building provides Ballyclare Community Concerns and its many users, a realistic opportunity to achieve a sustainable future by developing our community services, activities and establishing Community Enterprises.  The confidence expressed in our organisation by these funders makes us determined to ensure that this confidence is not misplaced and that in achieving success we will help to enhance the quality of life for our community.”

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