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Landmark East celebrates opening of new Social Economy Centre

Published on:  27 Nov 2006

A new £820,000 social economy centre in Belfast was officially opened today (Monday 27th November) by International Fund for Ireland Chairman Denis Rooney and Eddie Jackson, Chief Executive of the Belfast Local Strategy Partnership.

Avalon House, which is situated on the Newtownards Road, has been developed by Landmark East, a not-for-profit company set up to rebuild and restore unused and derelict property to provide high quality office accommodation for community, voluntary and social economy organisations.

The project was funded by the International Fund for Ireland, the European Union through the Peace II Programme implemented by Belfast Local Strategy Partnership, Belfast Regeneration Office and Landmark East.

Speaking at the official opening, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, Denis Rooney, said: “The International Fund for Ireland has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Landmark East since 1999 and we are delighted to be here again to give our wholehearted support to the group.”

The centre currently houses both the East Belfast Partnership and Landmark East, both with vested interests in the continued promotion and regeneration of the area. I know the centre will have an immediate and positive impact on social and economic life here in East Belfast and will play an important role in the long term prosperity of the area.”

Supporting the initiative Eddie Jackson, Chief Executive of Belfast Local Strategy Partnership, said: “I’m delighted that Landmark East already achieved a full house at Avalon House.  The development of this building has already proved to be of benefit to the community and the services that it will provide in the future will no doubt continue to contribute to the growth of the social economy.

“A key aim of the Peace II Programme and the measure under which this project was funded is to promote local regeneration and sustainability, focusing on achieving local development in line with local needs and priorities.  I feel confident to say that this has been aim has been achieved.”

Maurice Kinkead, Chief Executive of Landmark East responded by saying, “Like our parent company East Belfast Partnership, Landmark East is committed to the regeneration of East Belfast and to the development of the social economy. The development of Avalon House will make a significant contribution to both.

However, without the support of our funders, none of this would be possible and we would like to thank both the Belfast Regeneration Office and International Fund for Ireland for their support to every Landmark East development over the past eight years, and to Belfast Local Strategy Partnership for their support for this project and other associated social economy projects.”

The centre is currently fully occupied accommodating East Belfast Partnership and Landmark East as well as Avec Solutions, an ICT support and consultancy company.

Avalon House is the third project which has been supported by both the International Fund for Ireland and the Department for Social Development. Other projects include Bloomfield House and Lagan Village Tower.

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