Co-op scoops national award for its efforts to transform a Ballymena community

Raglan Community Development and Renovation Society is raising funds to create a business and cultural centre in the County Antrim town

A Ballymena-based community co-operative has won a national award in recognition of its work in seeking to transform the Harryville area.

Representatives from the Raglan Community Development and Renovation Society came to London to receive the NI winner of the Rural Community Co-operative Awards, organised by the Plunkett Foundation.

The panel of judges from across the UK co-operative sector praised Raglan for putting together a highly ambitious project and looked forward to seeing how it progresses in the years ahead.

Society secretary William Millar said the award was a tribute to the people of the area who have already pledged more than £90,000 towards the first phase of the project to transform the former Raglan Bar – now housing the Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union – into a thriving business and cultural centre.

Karen Arbuckle, chair of Co-operative Alternatives presents the award to Tracy Wallace and William Millar of Raglan Community Development and Renovation Society

He added: “This award will spur us on to reaching our £125,000 share offer target so we can begin building work in 2018. We would like to thank the businesses and people of Ballymena for their support for the project.”

The award was presented by Karen Arbuckle, chair of Co-operative Alternatives, which helped Raglan prepare its community share offer, launched earlier this year.

Karen said: “We would like to congratulate Billy and his team for their hard work in raising tens of thousands of pounds towards the project and for getting the message out to the people of the area. We look forward to a bright 2018 for Harryville.”

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.

Mr Millar added: “We would like to renew our appeal for people to get involved and help change the face of Harryville. 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.”

 To register interest telephone 07391611201 or email [email protected]

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