Arson-hit community hall to reopen next month

Community Development Officer, Aislin Conlon and Community Relations Forum Co-ordinator, Kathy Wolff pictured outside the Barron Hall. INNT 07-070-FP

Community Development Officer, Aislin Conlon and Community Relations Forum Co-ordinator, Kathy Wolff pictured outside the Barron Hall. INNT 07-070-FP

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A CROSS-COMMUNITY facility in Glengormley which was destroyed in an arson attack in July 2010 is set to reopen early next month.

The Barron Hall on the Antrim Road has been completely refurbished over the past four months, and building work at the historic property is expected to be complete by the end of February.

User groups which were forced to find alternative temporary accommodation following the fire, including the Community Relations Forum and Newtownabbey Senior Citizens’ Forum, are expected to return to the hall in early March. And it is hoped that other organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and youth and community groups will also be back to make use of the impressive new facility.

Kathy Wolff, Co-ordinator of the Community Relations Forum, said she can’t wait to move back into the hall and continue pursuing the vision of turning the building into a well-used peace and reconciliation centre.

“We had an average footfall of about 100 people a week before, and maybe another 80 or 90 on nights when we were running events, so the place was well used, and we’ve had a lot of enquiries already from individuals and groups about using the place, so we’re really looking forward to the work being finished and the place being up and running again.”

Thanking local churches and community organisations for their help and support, Kathy described the pending completion of work at the hall as “very positive for the local community.”

Read the full story in this week’s Times...