The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has acknowledged the work of volunteer community centre managers and committees at a special reception in Cloonavin.
Councillor Sean Bateson welcomed representatives from Ballybogey, Greysteel, Magilligan, Stranocum and Rasharkin to the event on Thursday 12th March 2020. Operated on behalf of Council, the centres provide a range of services and activities for the local community including luncheon clubs, fitness and educational classes and much more.
Expressing his thanks for the volunteers’ ongoing efforts, the Mayor said: “The impact that these groups make and what they offer cannot be underestimated in terms of community building and reducing social and rural isolation. On behalf of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone for their hard work and dedication which continues to make a positive difference across the area.”
The Mayor also welcomed some volunteers who have recently retired after many years of service in their communities. This included Daphne and Lyle Quigley who have recently retired from Burnfoot Community Association, Anne Clyde MBE from Garvagh Development Trust and Jimmy Culbertson who has retired from Stranocum Community Centre Ltd.
Daphne and Lyle, along with other members, have developed their community in Burnfoot since the mid 1990s, securing funding in recent years to buy the old school and turn it into a community building. They lease one classroom back to the school and also operate a community playgroup along with helping to develop a breakfast club operated by senior members of the community for school children. Daphne has secured Children in Need funds for many years to provide an annual summer scheme and most recently, working with their neighbouring village of Gortnaghey, Lyle was fundamental in securing almost £200,000 of Lottery funding to help secure community activity in Burnfoot for the next three years.
Anne Clyde has been with Garvagh and District Development Association since 1996. Out of this, Garvagh Development Trust was formed to secure over £1million, more than 20 years ago, to transform the Garvagh Community Building into what it is today. Anne, along with Chairperson Bill Weir, have transformed Main Street and the community sector in the town in this unique heritage building which is home to the Hampsey Harp School. They have also developed the Garvagh People’s Forest project and manage and operate the Pantry Café on Main Street as a Community project, bringing jobs to the area.
In Stranocum, Jimmy was a founding member of the District and Development group since 2010 and was instrumental in working with Ballymoney District Council to secure funds for the new centre. Jimmy managed all aspects of the centre since it opened in 2013 until his retirement from the group last year. Jimmy opened and closed the building for many years and it is under his care that the building and groups continue to develop to this day.