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Further community development for Ahoghill

Published on:  13 Feb 2007

Plans have today (Tuesday 13th February) been unveiled for a new community property development scheme in Ahoghill.

The scheme which includes business and retail units will be built on the site of the current Ahoghill Community Centre on the village’s Cullybackey Road and it is hoped it will ultimately create 15 new jobs for the area.

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland, with support from Ballymena Borough Council and the European Union’s Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme the new development will complement the almost complete new sports complex and community centre on an adjacent site.

The scheme has been developed by the Ahoghill Community Property  Development Company Ltd. (ACPDC). Speaking at the launch, Ian Armstrong, one of the founder members of the  “not for profit” company, said: “Members have been working with IFI and Ballymena Council for a number of years to bring the project to this stage and we would like to thank the representatives of both of these organisations for their support and guidance over the years.

Residents of the village may not be aware that without the construction of the new business centre, Ahoghill would have been waiting in excess of 10 years before being considered for a renovation of its existing community centre.  What we have now is a brand new purpose built community centre as a direct consequence of the Ahoghill Community Property Development Company Ltd. agreeing to take forward the construction of the new business centre.

As part of the requirements of the IFI scheme, the community must raise £50,000 and we are deeply appreciative of the very generous donations we have received today. I would urge both the local businesses and residents of the village to support the company in our future efforts to raise the amount required, whether by way of donation or support for future fundraising activities.”

The International Fund for Ireland has supported the new development through its Community Property Development Programme. Denis Rooney, Chairman of the Fund praised the Ahoghill Community Property Development Company Ltd’s vision in developing this site: “The people behind this project are to be commended. They have worked hard to bring new facilities to Ahoghill – facilities which will bring not just new economic potential to the village but will also strengthen and underpin the local community in the long term, complementing the new Community Centre itself.

“Although the Fund’s strategy is now more focused on community relations and reconciliation rather than on funding capital projects, it is very encouraging to see that the Fund has contributed to a project that will have a long term, positive impact on a local community such as this.”

Congratulating ACPDC Ltd. on their success in securing the funding for this latest development and confirming the Council’s commitment to the scheme, Mayor of Ballymena, Alderman James Alexander said: “This development will provide necessary and desirable high technology enabled office accommodation to new micro businesses and developing SMEs, whose growth, development, competitiveness and entrepreneurial skills will continue to strengthen the economic infrastructure of Ahoghill.”

Work on the site is expected to begin in May 2007.

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