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Significant Events

Social Enterprise MasterClass

In association with MEA Council, Podiem, the School for Social Enterprise in Ireland & the Ulster University we are running a Social Enterprise MasterClass in the Braid Centre, Ballymena on Friday 24th November 2017

If you, a friend or an associate are interested in attending please visit www.socialenterpriseballymena.eventbrite.co.uk to register your attendance

Project Launch

Group shot for press.JPGThe Raglan Development & Renovation Society reached a very important milestone last Friday, the 1st July 2016, when the Raglan Project was officially launched at a reception in the Credit Union part of the Raglan building attended by over forty invited guests, including the mayor of Mid & East Antrim Council, Councilor Audrey Wales MBE, Jim Allister MLA, Phillip Logan MLA, Mervyn Storey MLA & Robin Swann MLA., plus local Councilors, Council Officials, local business and community representatives.

The event itself was opened by the Lady Mayor of the Borough who spoke of her delight in seeing how the Raglan was now a very different building to the one she recalled many years ago and it how it was extremely satisfying to see how this project had developed in such a short space of time.

Tracy Wallace Chair of the RCDRS in welcoming everyone in attendance spoke of the fact that the idea to use the Raglan building as the focal point for the project had been generated over a sandwich at lunchtime in a local cafe, Tracy further stated that she remembered thinking that it would be nice to replace a tree which at that time was growing from guttering along the roof with a multi-purpose building which could be used for the benefit for both local community and local business alike.

On behalf of Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union Ltd., Robin Andrews stated that it was a pleasure for the Credit Union to help facilitate this development, Robin went on to say that whilst it was not within the remit of the Credit Union to become property managers, there were only too glad to lease the portion of the Raglan Building that they did not require for their business use to the Society.

William Millar Treasurer of the RCDRS then took the guests through a presentation outlining the pertinent point and objectives of the project, the principal point being that it is envisaged that the renovation itself will be paid for through a ‘cocktail of finance’ including; grant funding, finance package and a Community Share Offer, the exact details of which will be made available to the general public in approximately six weeks time.

The event then heard from two guest speakers Tiziana O’Hara of Co-Operative Alternatives who explained in more detail how the concept of Community Shares actually works and how the overall Raglan Project is a 1st in Northern Ireland, where a Credit Union has been able to support a Community Share Project like this.

Bill Manson of Podiem then addressed the gathered audience, Bill went onto compare the overall Raglan Project to the journey of the River Braid, in doing so he said that the river was a living entity which rises at the Sheddings, close to Slemish, and as it flows through Broughshane and Ballymena gathering momentum and speed, growing in size, very much like what the overall project is actually doing.

Community Share Offer Launch

A former public house destroyed by an IRA bomb more than 40 years ago is being transformed into a £1million community hub that will bring jobs and hope to one of Ballymena’s most deprived areas.

Raglan Community Development Renovation Society today launched a £120,000 community share offer to begin the first phase of a project that will turn the former Raglan Bar in Harryville into a thriving business and cultural centre.

Attending the launch were William Millar of the Raglan Community Development Renovation Society, Tiziana O’Hara of Co-operative Alternatives, Jackie Patton Head of Community Planning and Development for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Nigel McKinney of the Building Change Trust.

Secretary of the society, William Millar said this offer gave the people of Harryville the chance to become shareholders and have a stake in a project that will regenerate an area that has suffered years of neglect and decline.

“This project is about using people power to restore an area that has not benefited from the peace dividend. We are creating a shared space with business units, exhibition areas and educational services.”

The site has already undergone some restoration and the building is currently occupied by Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union. The plan is to develop the part not used by the credit union to transform it into a multi-purpose business/community hub used by residents, local community organisations and businesses.

When completed, the centre will contain up to nine new business units, a space for community projects and groups and an exhibition area connecting Harryville to its history.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has provisionally agreed a financial package to support the project and this will be used to leverage more capital funding to complete the £412,000 first phase of the project.

The Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid said: “Council are pleased to be supporting this project. One of the five priorities in Council’s Corporate Plan is building stronger, safe and healthy communities and we believe that this project will help to do this in this area.

“We commend Raglan Community Development and Renovation Society for their vision in bringing a derelict building back into use in the heart of this community for the benefit of this community. We look forward to working with them to realise that vision.”

The share offer has been launched with the help of the Building Change Trust’s Community Shares Ready! Programme run by Co-operative Alternatives, an organisation set up in Northern Ireland to promote and raise awareness of co-operatives and community benefit societies.

Tiziana O’Hara of Co-operative Alternatives said that the closure of major employees such as JTI and Michelin in Ballymena and the resulting loss of jobs had created a desire by the community to seize control of its future and provide hope for the next generation.

“This exciting project offers the chance to invest in something that will have massive benefits not only for residents but will lead the way in Northern Ireland by showing how a co-operative of local people can take control of our community’s future.

Raglan Community Development Renovation Society has had the vision to encourage a spirit of enterprise and bring jobs to this area. This is a community owned co-op that will work for the benefit of all. We want to see people take ownership and invest in the future of Harryville,” she added.

Investors can buy as little as £100 and up to a maximum of £20,000 worth of shares to become part of this exciting community owned enterprise. The first phase will consist of 843 square feet of workspace incorporating six business units and a community space. The community co-operative will be run on a one member one vote basis.

The closing date for share applications is the 31st December 2017. To register interest telephone 07391611201 or email info@theraglan.org