Colour Bar

About

The Harryville area of Ballymena was once known as a thriving industrial area with mills and shoe factories, a sense of purpose and an open, welcoming community renowned for its kindness and friendliness. For 200 years, The Raglan Bar was a centre for this community until it was virtually destroyed in 1976 by a bomb, following the blast the Raglan was rebuilt and once again took its place at the heart of the community.

By the late 80’s, early 90’s the business of the Raglan went into decline which eventually led to it closure as a Public House in 2000.

These intervening years were also very difficult for the area as a whole and Harryville is now an area of multiple deprivation with the loss of traditional industry, a decline in job opportunities, a moving population and a decreasing sense of community empowerment.

But things are changing. A portion of the Raglan building has already been renovated, led by local people, and in 2015 the Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union moved into the ground floor. While this has already had a major positive effect on Harryville, a major portion of the building has huge potential but is yet to be developed.

In early 2016, the same local people, plus a little help from others who have come on board, formed a community co-operative - the Raglan Community Development & Renovation Society – to benefit the community by enhancing and creating social capital in the local area. The renovation of the Raglan building will cost more than £1 million, and the public, our principal stakeholders, have the chance to buy Community Shares to demonstrate community confidence to lever in grant and loan funders.


Who We Are

Our board is made up of local people who see the potential for bringing heart back into Harryville.  We welcome new members to the board so if you have an interest in helping us develop The Raglan, please get in touch.

Stephen Burns (Chairman)
Stephen is the pharmacist at Ballee Pharmacy. A blow in to Ballymena and originally from Fermanagh Stephen has been a pharmacist for 16 years having previously worked for Bairds in Newtownabbey and East Belfast. He moved to Ballymena in 2009 when Ballee Pharmacy opened. He has worked on a number of Building the Community Pharmacy Partnership projects over the last 7 years and is keen to promote healthcare and health education in our community. Stephen has been involved in community work with the local Church and has a strong interest in developing new opportunities for local people. Stephen has brought a fresh insight in our project and good business skills.
William Millar (Secretary)
William (Billy) has worked as a volunteer in the community/voluntary sector for the last fifteen years, currently the Treasurer of Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union Ltd. and Ballee & Harryville Workspace Units. Billy has just turned fifty years of age, the last thirty-four years of which has seen him employed in the ‘private sector’ as an electrician at the JTI or as it’s better known the Gallaher a Tobacco Plant in Ballymena. During his time in the tobacco industry Billy has had the opportunity to travel across Europe both for his patent company and in his quest to enhance his ‘social awareness’ skills as a Trade Union Representative.
Denver McMeekin
Denver’s experience in the local community/voluntary sector is second to none, current Vice Chair of Harryville Partnership Initiative, he also serves on the Board of Ballee & Harryville Workspace Units, Ballymena South Cluster, Ballymena South Neighbourhood Renewal Programme, and was a prominent participant in the Forward Project - IFI Community Bridges Programme which brought together Individuals from the Carson Project in Ballymena and the Leafair Community Association in Derry/Londonderry to discuss and address conflict-related issues arising from the dark troubled days of our countries past history. Denver’s past work experience stretches from logistics to the retail sectors of our economy.
Colin Russell
Colin is fifty years old and has worked for the last 32 years as a Civil Servant currently employed as a civil engineer for the Department of Infrastructure within Transport N.I. For the last 25 years Colin has served as a volunteer director of Slemish and latterly Slemish n that Braid Credit Union holding the positions of Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer. At present he holds the position of Loans Officer within the Credit Union Board which brings him in contact with many members of the local community. Colin’s other love is his church where he serves as a member of the Kirk Session.
Rachel Smyth
Rachel is a trained Accountant and trained with Price Waterhouse Cooper, before joining the public sector in 2009, where she still continues to work on a part-time basis. Rachel’s other part-time employment is with the family owned and run business Iron’s Home Bakery, which has been operating in Harryville for over 50 years. Rachel has a keen interest in community development and enjoys running.
Robin Swann
Robin has a strong connection to the voluntary and charitable sector, as a former director of the Volunteer Development Agency, he is still an active member of Kells & Connor Community Association and grew up volunteering and working with rural youth groups across Europe, having been president of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster, Chairperson of rural Youth Europe, to working through the United Nations to support Rural youth Organisations in Kosovo & Serbia.
Tracy Wallace
Tracy a mother of three, lives in Broughshane where she fi rst joined Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union as a volunteer, then a teller before moving on to her current position that of Business Manager.

Tracy like Denver and William successfully completed the NICVA facilitated Community Leadership Programme in 2013 and is now participating in an Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprise at the Ulster University.

In her spare time Tracy takes an active interest in activities for children with learning disabilities and prior to joining the Credit Union Tracy worked in the Provinces Agricultural Industry. Tracy is the appointed Credit Union representative.

The board is receiving secretariat support from Tiziana O’Hara from Co-operative Alternatives through the delivering the Community Shares, Ready! project commissioned by the Building Change Trust.