A community facility which gained the support of US Special Envoy Gary Hart has been officially opened in Castlemara estate.
Castlemara Community Association is to offer a range of activities including youth club and training after securing £28,000 for the premises.
Since its formation in 2012, the group has worked closely with inter-agency partners to improve services and quality of life for residents. A delegation from the association highlighted these efforts when Mr Hart visited the town last month with the senior Democrat said to be “impressed” by the transformation.
Castlemara was one of 85 estates to participate in the Housing Executive’s Building Relationships in Communities (bric) project.
The facility was provided through a partnership of bric, Carrickfergus Borough Council and the Ministry of Defence’s Reserve Forces and Cadets Association Northern Ireland (RFCA NI).
Bric invested £12,000 into the project putting in groundworks around the modular building, as well as funding the official opening on Saturday. The RFCA donated the building to the group and Carrickfergus Borough Council invested £16,000 in the initiative, undertaking all of the planning approvals, building control and disability access modifications.
Welcoming the support, Susanne Campbell, chair of Castlemara Community Association, outlined some of the proposed events.
She said: “Residents are delighted that the community facility is being opened. We have a programme of activities planned, which will include mother and toddler, youth clubs, training courses, among others.
“We would like to thank the Housing Executive, the council Chief Executive and her officers and the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association NI.”
A plaque was unveiled by Chris Davis, from the Housing Executive and Sheila McClelland, Chief Executive of Carrickfergus Borough Council.
Chris said: “We were delighted to have been involved with this project on Castlemara, knowing that it will be of such great benefit to the community.”
Sheila added: “The council is delighted to be able to facilitate this project in partnership approach with the Housing Executive and the Reserve Forces. It is an example of being able to bring real and substantial satisfaction to the local community with a small amount of funding.”
Brian Sykes, deputy chief executive of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for NI, said: “Youth and community are at the very heart of everything that we do, so we were delighted to become part of this fantastic project and we take immense pleasure in seeing the Castlemara Community facility open its doors today.
“This is an exciting and innovative partnership venture which demonstrates just how much can be achieved when everyone works together to bring a shared vision to reality.
“This new resource will allow us to increase our membership and bring opportunity, fun and fulfilment to the young people of the area.”