Raglan Group working to revitalise Ballymena building

Co-operative Alternatives continues its work with the Raglan Community Development Society in Ballymena on the development of an underused credit union building in Harryville, Ballymena. The group are being assisted as part of the Community Shares, Ready project, supported by the Building Change Trust.

As part of the groups’ development, the Steering Group of the Raglan project and Tiziana O’Hara from Co-operative Alternatives went on a study visit of Omagh Community House.

The Raglan group is looking to raise community shares to renovate and refurbish part of an underused building in Harryville, Ballymena and open up its use to the surrounding community and businesses. This is part of a long felt aspiration to regenerate the area and bring life and confidence back in the heart of Harryville.

Billy Millar, the Chair of Raglan Steering Group said “We believe that community regeneration and economic development are two faces of the same coin. Business can only prosper within open and inclusive communities and communities can benefit when business profits stay local”.

The visit to Omagh Community House has offered the group to meet with one of the successful examples of a town regeneration and community cohesion in Northern Ireland.

The Community House has become an architectural landmark within Omagh town centre with the high glass frontage overlooking the Camowen and Drumragh river confluence. Omagh Community House is home to a range of community and voluntary groups who provide services to the local population. John McKinney, Chairperson of Omagh Community House said: “Within this dedicated space community groups can share resources, information, skills and knowledge so that they can provide a better service to their clients and member groups. “

Tiziana O’Hara declared the visit a great learning opportunity for the Raglan group and added “I believe the visit has inspired the Raglan group and also gave them some very useful tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and move swiftly through a complex planning period”.

If you want to get involved in the Raglan project, this is the right time: the steering group is now looking for experienced volunteers (possibly with some skill in either accountancy, or project management or property management skills) who can help and support the plans of the group. Please write to Billy Millar for further information at williemillar@hotmail.com.