‘Support for the Moyle Community Sector ‘ required to combat impact of cuts

19 01 2013

Calling for greater joined up thinking up between central Government Departments and local government, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said “In areas like Moyle we need to work together to support the strengthening of social relationships and improve people’s sense of wellbeing”

 “Moyle has many community and voluntary groups working across many sectors including health, recreation, sport, community development and the environment. Government needs to properly value their contribution and support their programmes of activity”

 “While Community programmes cannot substitute for the proper investments that are needed to transform local economies, they are helping people weather the recession, which we know is most likely to be felt for longer in marginal areas like Moyle.”

 “Ordinary local people need to be encouraged to protect communities from the worst impacts of impending spending cuts, I have seen at first had how the newly formed Ballycastle Community Development Group has been able to turn ‘strangers into neighbours”.

 The benefits of having strong networks embedded within communities include better health outcomes, lower levels of reported crime and anti-social behaviour.

 “The more we strengthen local assets – and people here are key- the more we will equip our communities to self-organise, help young people find opportunities, and bridge the vast gaps left by Government spending cuts.”

Community enjoys true “Winter Wonderland”

22 12 2012

Narnia Scenery

Having visited their superb “Winter Wonderland” Councillor Dónal Cunningham has said that he could not praise the Ballycastle Community Development Group and Teen Ballycastle highly enough.

 “The atmosphere generated throughout the town was heart-warming. In a year which saw setbacks for retail, construction, and tourism, this wonderful and magical festive experience brought much needed Christmas spirit and joy into Ballycastle and surrounding towns.”

The “Winter Wonderland” a three day extravaganza opened on Friday December 21.

Treats in store included a Narnia themed Winter Wonderland with the Snow Queen and some of the characters from the Narnia tales.

Santa’s Grotto and workshop and Santa’s little Helpers and Elves!

Santas Grotto

The Christmas market gave everyone a chance to pick up those last minute presents.


Pride of place was an indoor ice rink, a first for the area.

With one day of the event still remaining I would urge everyone if you have not already done so to get down to Castle Street and  join in this truly magical experience.


Cunningham urges facebook users to vote for Paul Kerrigan

5 08 2012


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has urged facebook users to vote for local man Paul Kerrigan in the 2012 Calor Ireland Community Champion awards.

“Paul has worked very hard in setting up the Ballycastle Community Development Group (BCDG). This group was inspired by the facebook page “What I would like to see in Ballycastle”.
“In the short period of their existence the group under Paul’s  guidance have

  • initiated the Youthlinks regeneration fund (saving a local youth club from shutting down),
  • delivered the first community festival recently to the town in many years as part of the Olympic torch day on the 3rd of June.
  • are in the process of developing a community radio station for all in the community, but specifically involving youth who are on the fringes of crime and getting them involved to help change their lives for the better.

Should Paul be successful the community group could benefit from a prize fund of 10.000 euros.

To vote facebook users need to “like” the Calor Ireland facebook page before proceeding to vote for Paul the County Antrim Champion, you are entitled to vote once every day up until 17th August.

So “Vote Early – Vote Often – Vote Paul”

Rally – produces many great ideas

31 03 2012

Welcoming many of the ideas that flowed from Friday nights”I Care about Ballycastle” rally organised by Ballycastle Community Development group SDLP Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham was particularly impressed with the innovative plans to bright up and rejuvenate some of the empty and unused business properties particularly in Castle Street.

Council needs to support the community and the groups many of them voluntary, who take the lead on decision-making about priorities in the town and how best to tackle problems. The community must have the opportunity to identify, design and deliver their own solutions that work locally. That may mean stonger lobbying of the various Government Departments and statutory agencies by Council – this is something I am particularly looking forward to.

Long term strategies are required to achieve sustainable regeneration within the town which put greater emphasis placed on community projects.
We need approaches to regeneration that nurture Ballycastle’s own physical, social and human assets and better ways to align the total public spend in the town.