Rebirth for Ballyclare Community Concerns

Joe Blair,Mandy Young and David Shaw all from Benmore Training Academy are pictured with Betty McNerlin and Peter Boyle at the Ballyclare Community Concerns information and training day. INNT 35-018-PSB
Joe Blair,Mandy Young and David Shaw all from Benmore Training Academy are pictured with Betty McNerlin and Peter Boyle at the Ballyclare Community Concerns information and training day. INNT 35-018-PSB

BALLYCLARE Community Concerns made a welcome return to the voluntary sector in the town this week with a very successful business road show.

The event, held in Foundry House, represents somewhat of a rebirth for the charity which has endured a difficult period recently.

Set up in the early 1990s, Ballyclare Community Concerns was established to provide a neutral venue in the town to help people into employment, or progress in their careers.

However, following funding difficulties the activities of the organisation were wound down for a period, however, the group’s committee is hoping to rebuild and return to its community roots.

Chairman Tom gray explained: “As with a lot of community organisations there is often a flurry of activity in the beginning and then that tends to die down and another organisation takes its place.

“We were set up in the early 90s providing training opportunities to help people to return to employment or provide training for those already in employment and we are hoping to return to that work.”

The road show was the brainchild of ‘Online Qualification Sales’, a partnership between Ballyclare Community Concerns, Northwest Lifelong Learning and Benmore Health and Safety Specialists- which is based in Foundry House.

Tom continued: “We have learned a lot from Northwest Learning and how it has used its training courses to develop innovative ideas which help sustain its programmes.

“And with working with Benmore, which is actually based in Foundry House, it helps us begin to develop on our own sustainability.

“We will be working to develop training courses to provide qualification needed in certain areas, one of which may be child care and running.

“We are also looking at using an empty unit in Foundry House as a charity shop for local community groups which can also allow people a place to learn retails skills.

“The hope is that we put in place the courses to give people a good experience, the necessary skills and the confidence for employment and the sustainability for the Ballyclare Community Concerns to continue.”

The business road show also showcased the many new and emerging technologies available to the community, such as video conferencing and using an internet telephone service such as Skype.

David Shaw from Benmore Health and Safety Specialists added: “The digital world is a smaller place today and using digital media can save businesses money. We can show how it can be done on a much more economical and efficient footing.”

The road show was also an opportunity to present ‘World Host’ pins to local staff who successfully completed the two-day tourism qualification with Online Qualification Sales sponsored by Limavady Borough Council and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).

‘World Host’ is the flagship new qualification in customer care delivered by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

It is offered at the reduced cost of £20 per person to anyone who serves, talks to or makes contact with tourists.

Chairman Tom and the Ballyclare Community Concerns committee thanked everyone who made the event such a success.

For those who missed the event, mini podcasts and videos, along with information on the group are available online at Foundry House Ballyclare on Facebook.