The events diary at Ballygally Hall is filling up fast.
The borough’s best equipped community centre, which also enjoys one of the most stunning views anywhere, has only been open since just before Christmas, but already it hosts a variety of courses, classes and attractions featuring something that is sure to interest just about everybody. From art to zumba, Ballygally Hall has it all.
It’s a far cry from the days when villagers rightly complained that the largest local meeting place was a bus shelter.
Built by Ballygally Community Development with generous funding from the Big Lottery fund and a great deal of cooperation from Larne Borough Council, the community hall is fulfilling the promise of locals who had always maintained that if Ballygally had such a facility it would be well used.
Anne Lennon, who is organising bookings, said: “The hall has only been open for two months and already evenings, in particular, are very busy. It has been achieved largely by word of mouth and local networking and as more people come and see the facilities, we are receiving more inquiries.”
Anne added: “We still have openings, of course, and we would be delighted to hear from anybody who would be interested in using either the main hall, which can accommodate up to 150 people, or the board room.”
Activities already booked and proving very popular include computer classes for beginners, an art club, a bridge club and a bridge class for beginners.
There are fitness classes for all ages and abilities from keep-fit work-outs to a more challenging “boot camp” and everything in between from zumba to yogalates, which is not, as you might think, milky coffee with yogurt, but a combination of yoga and pilates.
BCDA hosts a monthly coffee morning, each with a guest speaker, and the hall - with its fully-fitted catering size kitchen - is an ideal venue for WI and Inner Wheel social events.
Younger residents have a great place in which to burn off excess energy, which five to eight-year-olds do within the safe environs of the Wild Cats Activity Club.
Ballygally’s green-fingered brigade have not been forgotten as the village now has its own Gardeners’ Question Time, drawing on the expertise of panelists John Shannon, Joan Christie and David Ledsham. They will be in the hall on Saturday, March 3 between 10am and Noon.
As well as regular weekly or monthly activities, BCDA is happy to accommodate one-offs like recent triathlon and cycling tours. The hall was a welcome stop-off for refreshments for participants making their way along the Coast Road one Sunday recently.
The community facility will also host a 50-year reunion for former pupils of Larne Grammar School. If you left the Grammar in 1962, May 4 is the date and Willie Hunter and Mabel Richmond are the organisers. They can be contacted using the community hall email which is firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries can also be directed to Ballygally Hall, 264 Coast Road, Ballygally BT40 2QX. You can also telephone 028 28581050 but please remember there will not always be someone there to take calls.