New Carnlough project gets major funding

Irene O'Neill, Carnlough Community Association; Mary Watson, Secretary Carnlough Community Association; Patricia McConnell, Chair of Carnlough Community Association; Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive MEA Council; Audrey Wales,  Mayor MEA Council; Anna Carragher, Chair of Northern Ireland Committee, Heritage Lottery Fund; and Philip Thompson, Director MEA Council.

Irene O'Neill, Carnlough Community Association; Mary Watson, Secretary Carnlough Community Association; Patricia McConnell, Chair of Carnlough Community Association; Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive MEA Council; Audrey Wales, Mayor MEA Council; Anna Carragher, Chair of Northern Ireland Committee, Heritage Lottery Fund; and Philip Thompson, Director MEA Council.

Carnlough has received a major vote of confidence thanks to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council securing a sizeable grant for investment in the attractive coastal village.

The new heritage-based initiative will boost both the local community and help to draw more visitors to the attractive coastal village of Carnlough, nestling as it does within the picturesque and culturally distinctive Glens of Antrim.

A grant of £58,200 has been made to the Council through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) ‘Our Heritage’ grant scheme. This innovative industrial heritage and geology-based project will see an interpretative fit-out undertaken for the first floor of the former Carnlough Town Hall, which will also retain its function as a flexible community space.

The total cost of the project has been agreed through the Council’s Capital Plan for 2016-2019 as being up to £108,000.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales, MBE speaking at the official announcement for the project launch at Carnlough said: “The aim is to create a dedicated community resource and welcoming orientation hub for visitors to encourage guided and self-guided tours of the village and the wider environs. We are grateful to the HLF for once again deciding to invest in Mid and East Antrim Borough.”

There will be a programme of specialist talks and ‘reminiscence sessions’ that will ensure that local experience of the industrial heritage of Carnlough - particularly the former limestone industry - and other industries within the wider Glens such as iron ore mining are accurately and sympathetically captured.

The hub will also highlight the significant geological features of the area which boasts several areas of outstanding natural beauty and/or scientific interest.

A significant community engagement programme and volunteer strand within the project is also due to start soon.

It has been planned in close collaboration with Carnlough Community Association and Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust by the Council’s Museum and Heritage Service.

Anna Carragher, Chair of the NI Committee of Heritage Lottery Fund responded and said: “We were delighted to fund this engaging local heritage project and we wish the project team good luck with it.

“Carnlough is striking seaside village with a wealth of heritage to be explored. The Town Hall is an integral part of its built heritage so it’s fitting that it will be the hub for all the new activities.

“The project is funded through the Our Heritage grant programme which is a great flexible source of funding to support communities to explore and share the heritage that is important to them. It is thanks to people who play the National Lottery that we can support fascinating heritage projects across NI.”