New community centre will be big boost for Harryville

Mayor pictured outside the facility with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Director of Community Planning, Karen Hargan
Mayor pictured outside the facility with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Director of Community Planning, Karen Hargan

The Harryville area of Ballymena has received a fantastic ‘present’ from Mid & East Antrim Council just in time for summer

After years of lobbying by local people and councillors, a brand new community centre and sports pavilion was officially opened this week.

Shannon Erwin, Evie Fusco and Gracie Kenny from Arran School of Dancing, Broughshane, who perfomed at the Harryville Community Centre official opening.

Shannon Erwin, Evie Fusco and Gracie Kenny from Arran School of Dancing, Broughshane, who perfomed at the Harryville Community Centre official opening.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE said the new bulding underlined the Council’s commitment to ‘Putting People First’.

Speaking at the £1.32 million Harryville Community Centre & Sports Pavilion, Cllr Wales said: “Our new long term Community Plan, ‘Putting People First’ clearly identifies the need for collaborative working, especially so in this case as we sought the valuable input of the established local community groups and centre user groups in mapping the way forward for this fabulous Community Centre & Sports Pavilion.”

Harryville’s new facility replaces the previous community centre and changing rooms which were well past their sell-by date in virtaully all aspects.

The new building has been designed to meet both community and footballers’ requirements.

Community representatives and guests in the new facility at Harryville

Community representatives and guests in the new facility at Harryville

It includes a hall with an equipment store, kitchen, accessible toilets some with changing facilities, first aid room, office, changing rooms, officials changing room, plant rooms, large equipment store and accessible toilet at pitch level.

A car park to the side of the building is also included. The entire facility has been designed to provide accessibility for users travelling to the building from the car park or footpath to the building and within the facility.

The changing rooms and accessible toilets/changing rooms have all been designed to meet the access requirements of Sport NI. Two of the changing rooms have lockers incorporated for community use.

The hall is marked out for two badminton courts and there is a dedicated mat store for the use of the bowlers. Low energy consumption of the building is ensured with incorporation of high insulation values to the structure and high efficiency mains gas boiler and lighting.

The Mayor with Gary McAllister who spoke at the opening.

The Mayor with Gary McAllister who spoke at the opening.

Current Centre activities include the luncheon club, indoor bowls and dog training, youth club activities, circuit training, a cookery programme, tea dances, community meetings and birthday parties.

All of these activities are community-led and are indicative of the recognition that good health and well-being across the age spectrum contributes to longer, healthier and more active lives.

Concluding, Cllr Wales said: “I fully endorse and welcome Council’s forward looking initiative to provide high quality leisure facilities that will greatly benefit our citizens for many years to come.”

The total cost of providing the new building including the car park was £1.32 million. The architect, D.A Architects was led by George Fekkes. Refurbishment commenced in February 2015 with the centre opened again in November 2016.

Guests, councillors and MLAs  who attended

Guests, councillors and MLAs who attended