New community building for a new era at Annadale
A new community centre has opened just off the Ormeau Road, as the Annadale and Haywood Residents Association achieves a long held dream of a new facility located at Annadale Flats.
Built in the 1950’s, Annadale Flats never had its own purpose built community facility until now, following a grant of £350,000 from the Big Lottery Funded Space & Place Programme. The project also received funding from Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
The Residents Association has been delivering a wide range of educational, cultural and social programmes to meet the needs of residents from the ages of one to ninety.
The community has experienced a large number of changes over the years and is now home to people from a diverse range of backgrounds with up to eight different languages being spoken in the area.
The new centre will a provide a space where people can come together to enjoy a range of activities in a modern and fit for purpose building including; job training, a youth club, older people’s projects, counselling support for residents, a housing advice service as well as a range of celebrations including Chinese New Year.
The Centre will ultimately create new opportunities for all residents to come together taking part in activities which will increase community connectivity and enhance the quality of life for local people.
Speaking about the opening of the new Centre, Jeanette McMillan Project Manager from Annadale and Heywood Residents Association said:
“Annadale Flats never had its own community facility until now. It has become a very diverse area with eight languages spoken at our multicultural after-schools club, which NIHE has been funding for the past seven years. There is a diverse make-up which is clearly visible in the group of children and young people that attend our after-schools and youth club.
“This new building funded thanks to the Space & Place Programme with additional funding from Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, will help us develop and expand our existing range of programme activities, get new ones up and running and open the doors to a wide range of new opportunities. Also the Community Garden and landscaped surrounding will boost our cultural community celebrations throughout the calendar year”.
The Big Lottery Fund’s Space & Place programme is delivered by a consortium headed up by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
Michael Hughes Programme Co-ordinator for the Space & Place Programme said:
“This project is a great example of how a community and a range of funders can work together to deliver a valuable new community asset. The Space & Place Programme, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund thanks to National Lottery players, aims to create better connections within and between communities, and we believe this project has the capacity to enhance the connectivity of the community at Annadale," said Michael.
Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Chair Julie Harrison said: “We are delighted to see how Annadale and Haywood Residents Association have worked with local people to develop this facility. This has been made possible in part thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, and we are looking forward to seeing the difference this high quality community space will make to the lives of local people.”
Councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon, Chair of Belfast City Council’s South Belfast Area Working Group, added: “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to the funding of this project through the Council’s Local Investment Fund, which is specifically designed to help deliver much-needed facilities such as this for local communities across the city, as part of our wider Belfast Agenda.”
Housing Executive Belfast Regional Manager, Jennifer Hawthorne, said; “We are delighted to see the opening of the Annadale Community Centre shared community space.
“We were proud to play a major role in the development of the centre and as well as providing a base for the Annadale Haywood Residents’ Association, we arranged for the decontamination of the land on which the new shared centre sits and our Grounds Maintenance team are helping create the garden area.
“We’re sure it will become an excellent resource to the local community.”