THE Social Development Minister was given a warm welcome to Monkstown's 'community hub' during a visit to the area last Thursday (December 9).
Alex Attwood was given a guided tour of the facilities on offer at Monkstown Community Association by Chairman David McCrea and Project Co-ordinator Anne Judson.
The Minister heard about the realities of drug abuse in the area and the work the group has done to combat anti-social problems.
He also met with voluntary workers and saw firsthand the valuable contribution they make to the community.
Mr Attwood stopped in with 'Good Morning Newtownabbey', a free telephone service for vulnerable and older people living in the borough. And he took some time out to play with the children in the Tiny Tots nursery group.
Community representatives, councillors, MLAs and the police paid tribute to the work of the Community Association.
Chairman David McCrea said the group was in need of vital funding for the organisation.
He said: "For years we have been the hub of the community and the work of the Association has helped to improve life in Monkstown.
"People used to always talk about the Monkstown estate. Now, because of the work we have done to include the community we talk about Monkstown - because it is not just the estate.
"This is not just Monkstown but Whiteabbey and other areas and we have worked hard to provide a valuable service for all the people of Newtownabbey.
"We have had so many very successful projects and people think these schemes cost millions, but their value to the community is what counts."
Mr McCrea said the priority for the group was a new building and a full-time coordinator for the group.
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