Churches group asks council to take ownership of Dunanney Centre

The Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole.
The Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole.

Rathcoole Churches Community Group has asked Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to consider taking ownership of the Dunanney Centre.

The group, which currently owns and runs the community facility at Rathmullan Drive, believes the local authority is better equipped to ensure its long term viability.

Rev Billy Davison, vice chair of the Churches Community Group, stressed that local church leaders have given “careful thought and prayerful consideration to the best way forward for the centre.”

He stressed that it is the “very early stage of the process” and that the group is “exploring its options with the council.”

“Having looked at the longer term financial viability of the centre and other factors, Rathcoole Churches Community Group feels it would be more advantageous for the local community if the council was to take it over,” Rev Davison explained.

“Having looked at everything, our preferred option would be for the council to take over the ownership and running of the centre in the longer term, provided that’s feasible and viable.

“In our view it would be in the best interests of the local community. We feel the council would be able to provide the services that are already there and enhance them, and even be able to offer more things.”

The Dunanney Centre, which opened in 1999, is currently home to Citizens Advice Newtownabbey and a number of other organisations.

Rev Davison, minister at Newtownabbey Methodist Mission, stressed that the Churches Community Group will continue to operate the facility for the foreseeable future.

On Monday night, local councillors discussed the matter behind closed doors. However, the Times understands that elected members have given the go-ahead for council officials to investigate if taking ownership of the centre would be possible.

It’s believed councillors have approved a spend of up to £5,000 for expert legal advice on the matter.