Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA and Chairman of the Stormont Public Accounts Committee, has called on the constituency’s Loyal Orders “to take full advantage of the half a million pounds funding to support improvement works for community hall across the Province”.
Assemblyman Swann, himself a Past Master of the Orange and Black institutions, said he “fully supported” the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s welcome of the announcement by the Department for Communities regarding the provision of funding of £500,000 to support improvement works for community halls across Northern Ireland.
Mr Swann added: “Many of our Loyal Order halls fulfill a very valuable community role and the activities that they host can play a major role in helping a locality maintain its community identity and heritage.
“In this respect, given this strong community function which many Loyal Order halls provide, I urge the Loyal Orders in the constituency to apply for this much-needed financial support.”
Meanwhile, an Orange spokesperson supporting Assemblyman Swann’s call said: “The Orange Institution provides approximately 750 halls across the Province which are used by a wide variety of community groups.
“The activities carried out in these halls provide a social lifeline to many otherwise isolated rural communities.
“Government assistance for such vital community facilities is to be welcomed; particularly when Orange property continues to be targeted in sectarian attacks, with 33 incidents so far this year alone.
“It is, therefore, pleasing priority, among others, is to be given to applications where buildings have been subject to recent criminal damage.
“We would encourage all lodges and associated groups, who meet the appropriate criteria, to utilise such funding for the betterment of their local communities.”