The Project being funded by PSEPII is the rebuilding of the main residential unit at Corrymeela's Ballycastle Centre. This building was built in the 1930's as a timber frame structure and acquired by Corrymeela in 1965. Since then we have made a number of changes and improvements to it. In 1993 we recognised that more major renovations were required to ensure that appropriate Health and Safety standards were maintained and that we were able to provide appropriate accommodation to the groups using the centre both now and for the next twenty years.
After a structural survey was carried out we decided that it made better economic sense to knock the building down and rebuild a house which met the current and proposed needs. The instructions given to the architect were that the building should retain a homely, welcoming feel, be as environmentally friendly as possible, have low maintenance costs, retain the capacity though to be more versatile and be comfortable without being too glamorous. It had to ensure that the needs of the groups coming were accommodated. It also had to fit onto the site within the existing buildings and maximise the natural surrounding scenic beauty. The costs of the project were estimated to be between £1.1 and £1.3 million. We were not in any position to raise that sum of money on our own and we made an application which was successful to PSEPII. The total eligible costs against which we have received support from the PSEPII Programme are £1,066,666.67 and we have been offered £800,000 from this programme. The building started in March 1997 and the expected finish date is February 1998. The major benefit of the funding is to enable us to start the project. Having received this support we were able to use this funding to encourage to other major funders, IFI and the Government, to come and support us as well. This has allowed us to approach trusts and individuals for other major donations.
Together with our own fund raising from members and friends, we
have at this stage, August 1997, almost reached our target. We
will, hopefully, then have a new purpose built Peace and Reconciliation
Residential Centre available for use by a range of groups in their
journey towards a less violent and less divisive community without
a major burden of debt for Corrymeela to repay. Without the support
through PSEPII we would not have been able to financially consider
this scale of project.