Mallusk Village Quarter was officially opened at a ceremony on Saturday, January 21.
The facility was opened by the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr John Scott.
Academy Sports Club, in partnership with Mallusk Community Action Group, secured a £50,000 grant from Biffa Award to transform its site in the centre of Mallusk into a shared civic space which will be known as ‘Mallusk Village Quarter’.
Biffa Award is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.
The project, which has been awarded funding under Biffa Award’s Recreation theme, has completely refurbished the previously derelict area around Academy Sports Club, incorporating Mallusk Integrated Primary School, Mallusk Community Playgroup, the William Morrison Play Area and the Sports and Community Hub building.
Each of these four entities were separate and individually fenced and the site was not welcoming, with barbed wire fencing, pot holed surfaces and overgrown vegetation.
The only access to each was via the busy main road which carries heavy industrial traffic. The project has created safe pedestrian access, as well as lighting, with the amenities now being linked through landscaped walkways, with seating and outdoor social areas.
Additional funding was also secured from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council (£30k) and Awards For All (£10k) to compliment the refurbishment provided by the Biffa Award Grant and make much needed improvements to car parking facilities at the site.
Attending the opening Richard Gregory, Chairman of Mallusk Community Action Group said: “This is the final part of our village improvement plan which has been five years in the making. It is fantastic to have a pleasant welcoming area to base all our community facilities, school, playgroup, play park and our sports and community hub.
“The site has been an eyesore for many years and this makes such a difference to the appearance of the village. We are once again indebted to Biffa Award, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Awards for All for their support.”
Julie Vauls, Leader of Mallusk Community Playgroup who are based at the site commented: “It will be wonderful to finally have proper car parking facilities for my parents and the new landscaped communal area will provide us with more space for our activities and events as well as providing us with safe access through to the play park”
Gillian French, Head of Grants, Biffa Award added: “This new space is a great asset to the Mallusk community. We are really pleased to have supported this fantastic project with the Landfill Communities Fund.”
Welcoming the development, Cllr John Scott said: “I am delighted that the council were able to provide match funding of £30k to this much needed project. The transformation of this facility into a shared civic space that is accessible to all is fantastic to see in our borough and is a true credit to Mallusk and the surrounding areas.”