Royal recognition for Ballymena voluntary organisations

David McGuckin and Jan Roscoe from Doury Road Development Group. (Submitted Picture).

David McGuckin and Jan Roscoe from Doury Road Development Group. (Submitted Picture).

Two Ballymena organisations have been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service - the highest UK accolade of its kind.

Doury Road Development Group and Ballymena Festival of Music, Speech and Dance are among 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to be honoured with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2016 which is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.

The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on June 2.

It is understood the local winners will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim later this summer.

Ballymena Festival, which is currently in its centenary year, offers the community opportunities to perform and receive guidance in developing artistic excellence.

Doury Road Development Group was founded in 2009 by residents to support, develop, improve and promote the quality of life for all residents of the estate and over the last six years it has worked cohesively towards community led development of the whole estate, delivering a range of support and interventions to residents.

David McGuckin and Jan Roscoe from the Group attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 24 where they met The Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Group Chairman David McGuckin said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award. As a local residents’ association we feel winning the equivalent of an MBE is a fantastic recognition of the hard work we have all put into making our estate a better place to live in.”

Local Councillor Declan O’Loan said: “ I have associations with both groups and I know that these awards are very well deserved.”

Also congratulating local winners, North Antrim MLA Robin Swann described the Doury Road Development Group’s “magnificent achievement” as “a shining example for all throughout the constituency” and “a beacon of hope for North Antrim amid the gloom of job losses”.