After a £250,000 refurbishment and 38 years of being at the heart of the local community, Monkstown Community Centre was officially re-launched on Thursday, May 31.
With over 350 users per week, the community centre on Cashel Drive which, at its time of construction had been given a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, has become one of the most vibrant and innovative facilities within the borough.
Anchor tenants include Good Morning Newtownabbey, Sure Start and the Monkstown/Whiteabbey Building Bridges Partnership. Due to this success, and the deteriorating condition of the previous centre, Newtownabbey Borough Council made a decision in 2011 to invest in a series of refurbishment works which have now transformed the interior and exterior of the building, including the addition of an extra 55 square metres of accommodation.
The community centre which was officially re-opened by the Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE and Mayor Billy Webb was renamed ‘Monkstown Jubilee Centre’ in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and a Jubilee Party was held in the centre to mark the occasion (see picture inset).
Speaking at the re-opening, Joan Christie OBE commented: “I would like to wish Monkstown Community Association every success with their new centre and congratulate them on all the hard work that they have put into this estate over many years.”
And Mayor Billy Webb added: “I would like to thank David McCrea, Anne Judson and the Management Committee members of Monkstown Community Association, who have worked in partnership with the council to redevelop the centre into what we have today. Their dedication and commitment over the years not only in managing the centre but also to the residents of Monkstown has finally paid off and I wish you every success for the future in your new building.”
Also in attendance at the relaunch were East Antrim DUP MP Sammy Wilson, MLAs Alastair Ross and Pamela Barr and Newtownabbey councillor Robert Hill.
Commenting, Mr Ross said: “It is fantastic to see the Monkstown Jubilee Centre open again, and serving the local community. Much good work takes place here in terms of engaging with young people in the estate and looking out for vulnerable people who rely on the support they are given from volunteers in the centre.
“I would commend the work of Anne Judson and Davy McCrea and their team on getting this new centre up and running and for their commitment to running courses and events for the local community.
“I intend on recommencing my constituency surgery now that the centre has reopened and will advertise the times and dates over the course of the next few weeks.”