Ballycarry Community Association was formed in 1990 and its origins lay in the management committee of the community hall erected in 1986 at the Fairhill. The committee came to act as a wider grouping for community issues and in 1990 organised itself as a community association. A few years later the Association invited all other voluntary and community based groups to affiliate to it and send representatives to meetings, with the result that today the following organisations are officially represented on the Association; Ballycarry Presbyterian Church, Ballycarry Old Presbyterian Church, Ballycarry Women’s League, St. John’s Parish Church, Redhall Masonic Lodge, Ballycarry PW, Ballycarry PTA, McCalmont’s True Blues LOL 697, East Antrim Beekeepers Association, Templecorran Historical Society, Ballycarry Art Club, Ballycarry Women’s Institute, B4F (Ballycarry for Families) group, and Magheramorne Silver Band. This makes for a strong community voice.
The Association has over the years been highly involved in many activities including historical exhibitions, establishment of a historical marker trail in the Templecorran cemetery, upgrading of the Kennedy Row right-of-way, concerts, table quizzes, coffee mornings, foundation of the Broadisland Gathering, highlighting the legacy of James Orr, Ulster’s most prominent weaver poet, working for restoration of his memorial, planning for a war memorial in the village, a drop-in weekday coffee club, a youth club and many other activities. The Community Association enjoys good working relationships with Larne Borough Council, the local Member of Parliament, Members of the Legislative Assembly and has successfully worked in the past with the Roads Service, North Antrim Community Network, Royal Irish Regiment, Department of the Environment, Rural Community Network, Imeall Tra Teo Ltd, Ulster Local History Trust Fund, Ulster Scots Agency, Ballycarry Primary School, North Eastern Education and Library Board, the RUC/PSNI, the Masonic Order and others. The group has a proven track record of working with other structural and community bodies, and a track record in achievement in the field of community development. In the past, in conjunction with Islandmagee Community Development Association, it shared a development officer and administrative assistant, under a grant from the National Lottery. This grant lasted for three years. Currently, with support from the Ulster Scots Agency, the Association employs a part-time Ulster Scot admin worker, now entering her second year.
The Association regards one of its major achievements to have been the drawing down of funding to replace the old temporary mobile hall erected in 1986 with a purpose built community centre in March 2000. The group applied for funding from the National Lottery and the 21st Century Halls initiative and was successful in attracting £200,000 grant, which was augmented by support from the local council and local funding. The new centre continues to be highly utilised and valued in the village.
As Ballycarry Community Association enters its 21st year, the group faces challenges as a ‘commuter’ village for Carrickfergus and Belfast, consideration expansion of the local village through development, and the need to encourage and attract new young members to ensure that community work continues in the village for the years ahead. Several of the original committee members from 1990 remain in active office, and the combination of their experience and the new enthusiasm of younger members makes the group very positive about the future.
Ballycarry Community Association41a Main StreetBallycarry, BT38 9HHUnited Kingdom