New Community Centre in Ballyholland Opens
The small village of Ballyholland, just outside Newry City, has always been renowned for its community development work and on Thursday 2 July, thanks to funding from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, SOAR and DARD, Ballyholland now boasts a new state-of-the-art community centre.
Back in 1986 with the assistance of the then Newry and Mourne District Council a small wooden second hand facility was placed on site which provided a limited but very important range of activities. However by the mid 90’s the growth of community activity far outweighed the capability of the wooden structure and the Community Development Association produced ambitious plans to develop a purpose built facility.
Despite securing funding for a new facility the project had to be abandoned. Understandably the disappointment caused a decline in community development and throughout the late 90’s there was virtually no community activity in the area. However in the new millennium and keenly supported by Ballyholland Harps GAC there was a resurgence and Ballyholland Community Development Association made a funding application to SOAR (implementing and delivering the Rural Development Programme on behalf of DARD) for a new facility.
Following the success of the application and the offer of funding, the Association approached the Council and from them secured the remainder of the money needed to build the new community centre.
Speaking at the official opening of the new facility, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chair, Cllr Naomi Bailie said, “On behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council I would like to thank SOAR and DARD for their contribution and outstanding assistance with this project. I must also thank Council staff who have worked tirelessly with the group to bring this project to a successful conclusion. It is through the hard work of the funders and the ‘never give up’ attitude and spirit of the Community Development Association that has led to this beautiful state-of-the-art building. It is a time of change for us all and I wish the entire community of Ballyholland many years of fruitful activities and enjoyment in this their new community building.”
Minister O’Neill said, “The total DARD investment in this project of just under £800k, combined with substantial match funding provided by the Council and a significant contribution raised by Ballyholland Development Association, is an excellent example of how Axis 3 of the RDP can make a significant investment and positive impact on rural life.
I would like to congratulate Ballyholland Development Association and the then Newry and Mourne District Council for all their hard work and perseverance in bringing this excellent project to completion. This state of the art community and sports facility here in the heart of Ballyholland is a credit to you all and I know it will bring great benefits for the whole community for many years to come.”