West Bann Celebrate 10 Years Serving the Community!
“Where Would This Community Be Now If It Wasn’t For The West Bann Development Centre?”
This was the question posed by Department for Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA as he addressed guests at an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the West Bann Development Community Centre in the Killowen area of Coleraine.
During his speech the Minister also congratulated Directors and staff of West Bann Development for the tremendous work they have done for the local community.
Minister Storey said: “I am pleased that through the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme my Department has been able to provide funding towards the running costs of the West Bann Development Centre".
“The aim of the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme is to ensure that people living in the Killowen and surrounding areas have access to opportunities which improve their quality of life and give them hope for a future in which prospects for themselves, their families and their neighbours can be better.
“West Bann has been a key partner in this and I want to congratulate everyone involved in West Bann for what they have achieved for the people of this area and wish them every continued success for the next 10 years.”
The Minister was speaking to an audience which included the MP for the area Gregory Campbell, the Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor George Duddy, MLA’s, councillors and representatives of the local community and organisations that partner with West Bann in the delivery of their programmes.
The Minister and invited guests were welcomed to the Bertie Peacock Building by the West Bann Development Chairperson Claire Sugden MLA. Claire stated that she hadn’t been involved in the great community work that had been done by West Bann in the past 10 years but looked forward to being involved with supporting the community for the next 10 years.
Claire stated that she had taken on the role of chair of West Bann after the untimely demise of her great friend David McClarty MLA. Claire said that David was known as the Boy from Killowen and she would like to be known as the Girl from Killowen as her roots are firmly planted in the area. Claire then went on to thank the directors for their work and to pay tribute to David and the other West Bann Directors who were now deceased Victor Hamill, George Lapsley and Bertie Peacock for the work they had done on behalf of the community.
Ian Donaghey MBE President of the Causeway Chamber of Commerce then addressed those in attendance. Mr Donaghey said that he was present when James Nesbitt officially opened the Centre on 3rd September 2004 and was delighted to be back 10 years later as Chairperson of the Coleraine Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership to see the positive results of Neighbourhood Renewal funding in the area.
Ian then spoke about the benefits of having community, voluntary and statutory organisations around the same table in the NR partnership. This allows local issues to be discussed by local people and those tasked with delivery of services in the area. This in turn allows local people to influence the type of services that are put in place to address the local needs.
The Manager of the West Bann Development Centre Eugene McFeely then presented the Minister and those present with a comprehensive review of the programmes delivered at the centre over the last 10 years. Eugene highlighted the range of programmes developed to meet the needs of local people and the benefits of each of these programmes.
The programmes developed included:
• Community Education and Training Courses: with an average of 168 accredited qualifications being awarded annually. This has obviously contributed to the 20% increase in working age adults in Churchlands with accredited qualifications.
• Early Years Development Programme: promoting early child development & new skills for parents.
• Health and Well Being Programme: provides activities which contribute to overall health improvements & changes in lifestyle.
• Good Morning Causeway Service: supports independent living, reduces fear of crime, improves social inclusion & provides piece of mind for clients & their family.
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• Provision of Facilities for community use & the delivery of services: Ensures services are delivered locally and are accessible to all.
• Provision of Low Cost Business Units: Provides NRA residents with a local base to setup their own business or access services.
The Centre Manager Eugene McFeely commented “Everything that we do at West Bann Development is designed to have a positive impact on the lives of the members of the local community. The funding from DSD through Neighbourhood Renewal has been invaluable in allowing West Bann to deliver the services required to meet the identified needs of the area. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the groups and organisations whom we partner with in the delivery of our programmes, without your help and support much less would be achieved.”
Eugene added “The work & dedication of the Directors of West Bann Development both present and past is to be highly commended, some have been giving freely of their time for the last 16 years. I must also pay tribute to the staff team who are dedicated to making the services at the Centre effective in delivering the outcomes our clients desire. I cannot thank nor praise highly enough the fantastic group of volunteers who return week in week out to freely give to the community.
We look back at what we have achieved in the Centre over the last 10 years and are rightly proud of our achievements. We look forward to the future in uncertain times but sure in the knowledge that our work colleague Clare and our Directors Bertie, Victor, George and David who have all passed on would wish us well.”