THIS week Ballymoney Regeneration Company hosted a celebration event in the Old School House at St Patrick’s Parish Church, to mark the completion of their Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Launched in June 2013, the £2.5million Townscape Heritage Initiative facilitated the development of 8 capital projects located within the Ballymoney Conservation Area. The programme which sought to contribute to the economic and physical regeneration of the town centre has resulted in the re-development of one listed building; the restoration of 8 vacant or partially vacant buildings, the creation of 10 residential units and three new businesses have since opened in developed premises.
Speaking at the event to mark the end of the programme Winnie Mellett, Chair of Ballymoney Regeneration Company commented “The THI Programme has made a significant contribution to reinvigorating the economic life of the town and has made a positive contribution to preserving our townscape character. Ballymoney Regeneration Company is grateful to all the respective property owners for their commitment and participation in the programme. We would also like to express our gratitude to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their guidance and generous support throughout the scheme.” She continued “We also wish to extend our thanks to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the former Department of Social Development and Department of Environment for their significant contributions.”
The Initiative also included an Education and Training Programme element which was delivered by Building Communities Resource Centre and engaged with over 1100 people of all ages through workshops, talks, outdoor events and traditional skills sessions, promoting both the THI programme and the unique and rich heritage of our local area.
Speaking of the Education and Training element Winnie Mellet expressed her gratitude to everyone involved, “Thank you to the staff at Building Communities Resource Centre for their delivery of this programme and to everyone who took part. A special mention of appreciation goes to the members of the Ballymoney U3A History Group for their dedicated research and hard-work, as well as the staff and pupils of the local schools who took part in a wide range of heritage activities.”
In closing Winnie expressed her appreciation to Nick Brown, the THI Project Officer and her fellow Ballymoney Regeneration Company Board members for their input and ongoing efforts over many years.
Also in attendance at the celebration event was Jim McGreevy representing The National Lottery Heritage Fund who congratulated Ballymoney Regeneration Company on the successful completion of the project. “The National Lottery Heritage Fund is proud to support this project which retains the unique historic fabric of Ballymoney and which contributes to the overall economic, social and cultural vitality of the town.”
In addition to private investment from the owners and the funding received from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme was also strongly supported by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council with additional match funding provided by the Housing Executive and the Department of the Environment.
Commenting on the completion of the programme Tim Gilpin, the Housing Executive’s acting Rural and Regeneration Manager, said: “The Housing Executive is committed to fostering vibrant communities and we were pleased to offer match funding to the Ballymoney Townscape Heritage Initiative project. By providing funding through our Heritage in Housing initiative, we are proud to have enabled new homes to be created within Ballymoney’s attractive conservation area.”
“By partnering with agencies such as The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Ballymoney Regeneration Company, the Housing Executive has been able to help local communities to reinvigorate their neighbourhoods and preserve their history for future generations”.
As part of the celebration event those attending had the opportunity to visit some of the premises that had been developed through the programme through a tour facilitated by THI Project Officer Nick Brown who highlighted the challenges faced and the many achievements gained through the programme.
In the coming weeks the Regeneration Company will be launching their dedicated website to the programme, www.ballymoneytownheritage.com which will provide further details of the programme and the local heritage of the town. For further information contact Clair at BCRC on 028 2766 5068.