Proposals to build a Community Centre for use as a neutral venue in the village of Rasharkin date back to 1988 when Ballymoney Borough Council conducted an initial feasibility study, however funding for the project was not available at that time. The 1988 study was updated in 1993 and a full investment appraisal was carried out by Price Waterhouse. This again confirmed the need for a neutral venue in Rasharkin but again funding was not available. In 1994 the Council's application for funding was considered by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) and the Central Community Relations Unit under PSEPII.
Price Waterhouse were commissioned to update the 1993 appraisal and confirmed that there remained a defined and strong need for a cross community centre in Rasharkin and that it would have a positive impact on community relations in the village. The best option was considered to be new build on the site of some old changing rooms on the Council's land at Drumbolcan Park. DFP subsequently offered the Council 75% grant on the capital cost of the project. Building began in late 1996 and now in June 1997 the work is nearly complete. The actual Centre comprises a central hall suitable for a range of recreational/social activities, a committee room to seat approximately 30 people, a kitchen, male, female and disabled changing areas. A committed and hard working Management Committee has been formed made up of representatives from the local community, elected Council representatives and with the Council's Community Relations Officer acting as Secretary. The formation of the Committee is in line with recommendations from DFP and the members have received guidance and advice on their role in maximising cross community use of the Centre by developing an active cross community programme of activities, whilst ensuring that it remains financially viable.
Rasharkin Community Centre is due to open during August 1997 and
a variety of events and activities are eagerly anticipated by
the community. Core groups who will use the Centre include the
Playgroup, the Mother and Toddler Group, the Residents Association
and the Senior Citizens Club. Activities will include computer
classes, personal development, creative arts, youth sports coaching
and circus skills, local history workshops, tea dances and concerts.