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Northern Ireland District Makes it Home!

Friday 3rd August 2018

Northern Ireland District ‘Made their way Home’ on a sponsored 35 mile walk from their previous Headquarters Rathmore in Larne to their newly renovated home at the former Newport Primary school in Culcavy, just outside Hillsborough on Saturday 23rd June 2018.

NI District Vice-President Rev Dr Trevor McCormick and District Trustee Drew Buchanan MBE led a small but mighty band of walkers, some walking all and some walking part of the 35 mile route; making their way from Larne to Carrickfergus, along the Shore Road to Belfast City Centre then out by Lisburn to Culcavy.

The BB Fundraising team led by Trevor McCormick initially set a £400,000 fundraising target for Newport back in 2014. Three years later and after many fundraising initiatives including filling Smarties tubes with 20p coins, a cycle challenge, concerts, dinners etc the final target to clear the building and renovation debt at Newport is now just £7,000; once raised this will conclude the Newport Opening New Doors Appeal. The total amount invested in Newport including purchase is £800,000.

The 17th Belfast Company Band led the walkers on a final parade from the nearby Halftown Community Hall to Newport. On arrival at Newport there was a celebration for the completion of the sponsored walk and all that has been achieved at Newport, to convert and equip the former Primary School into the modern office, training, conference and residential centre it is today. Boys of all ages from BB Companies from across NI competed in a ‘Just for Laughs’ competition outside on the green.

Local band Dynamic Brass played the walkers home through the gates of Newport with a ‘Congratulations’ fanfare and then entertained invited guests and members of BB during a drinks reception; followed by the unveiling of the bricks purchased through a fundraising ‘Buy a Brick’ scheme. The bricks were unveiled by some of the youngest members of the organisation, from 1st Hillsborough BB; thereafter there was a free Barbeque for everyone and more live music around the camp fire in the grounds of Newport.

Centre Manager, Alison Irvine said “‘Last year Northern Ireland District either trained or facilitated the training of over 1200 adults and young men (aged 16 – 18) in leadership skills.  The new facilities at Newport include a residential centre accommodating up to 40 in dormitories along with a modern training room and well-equipped catering kitchen. Guests staying so far have included a sports team from Canada in April on a 10 day visit to NI, a BB football team from England and BB Chess teams from England and Scotland visiting to take part in a BB National final, also hosted at Newport.  The conference and training spaces are available to hire with a full range of catering options to choose from. Newport has fantastic outdoor spaces too with beautiful grounds, picnic area and on-site parking.”

NI District gratefully acknowledges the funding received for all the work carried out at Newport in the last 3 years from the Alpha Programme, Garfield Weston, PEACE IV, The Beatrice Laing Trust, and Ulster Garden Villages along with a technology equipment grant received from the Department for Communities.

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