Work is getting underway on an EU PEACE IV funded project which will improve community facilities across the Causeway Coast and Glens including the Ullans Centre in Ballymoney.
Gortnaghey Community Centre outside Dungiven and the Ullans Centre are the first of 34 buildings to benefit from the ‘Sharing Your Community Space Programme’ which will see over £630,000 invested across the Borough.
It aims to challenge perceptions and real barriers to opening up community facilities to more shared use.
An accessible changing facility will be built at Gortnaghey while a disused second floor shop storage space will be transformed into a cultural activity centre incorporating a community radio station, activity space, kitchen and office at the Ullans Centre.
The programme of work has been welcomed by the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Brenda Chivers:.
She said: “This is a great opportunity for facilities to be upgraded to ensure groups can offer a wider range of activities to a new and diverse range of users. As this second phase of the project begins, I want to wish all our participating community groups well and I look forward to seeing the end result.”
Paying tribute to those involved, Councillor William McCandless, Chair of the Peace IV Partnership Board, said: “Since the start of the project all participants have given their valuable time and support to the programme.
“I was delighted to visit both venues to witness the minor capital works element of this Peace IV project being implemented.
“It’s great to hear the project is on schedule with the first contractors appointed through the SEUPB procurement process and the others will follow over the coming weeks and months.”
Chair of Ullans Speakers Association Louise Morrow said: “It is a great day for our group and the wider community in Ballymoney.
“We will ensure this centre is a hub of activity for all to enjoy and take part in the many activities, classes and events we will be organising.
“We believe this project work will increase the opportunity for cross-community use by building relations with new communities across the Borough especially those we have engaged with in this project.
“This work will ensure accessibility for these groups with facilities and equipment fit for purpose to encourage a wide a range of activities.”
Speaking on behalf of Gortnaghey Community Centre, Centre Coordinator Eithne Burke said: “We want to express our thanks at being involved in this Peace IV programme which has allowed us to avail of the minor capital works to install an accessible changing facility which will ensure our park, playing fields and centre are accessible to a wide range of users at various times in the day and evening.”
The ‘Sharing Your Community Space Programme’ funded by the EU’s Peace IV Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body supports community groups that provide centres and halls across Causeway Coast and Glens. The Programme involved a phase of dialogue sessions as well as the minor capital works.
Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.