A new world opens up for Atlas Women’s Centre

Atlas Women’s Centre in Lisburn is looking forward to a whole new world of possibilities following a refurbishment of its premises thanks to National Lottery players.

The centre which delivers adult training and learning support, received initial funding of almost £350,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Space & Place Programme to transform its premises which were in need of extensive work to meet a growing community demand for its services.

The building on Lisburn’s Bachelors Walk also includes a new children’s learning and development room which can be used by parents undertaking courses in the facility, an outdoor play area which will provide a more enriching experience for the children, as well as a rooftop garden to be enjoyed by all centre users. The installation of a lift also means the building is now more accessible to and inclusive of the local community. 

Speaking as the new Centre was officially launched Gay Sherry-Bingham from Atlas Women’s Centre said: “This funding has changed a building that will change the lives of many women, men and children for many years -  for people who live in Lisburn and for those who don’t. I am so happy that those who could never come into the centre now can, because we have a lift right up to the rooftop garden and training rooms.  It really is a centre for the whole community. 

“Unused, unsafe grey, derelict space transformed into a bright safe, space and place that will brighten up anyone’s day,” said Gay.

The Space & Place Programme is a £15 million Big Lottery Fund capital grants scheme which seeks to connect more people and communities by making use of underused or difficult space. The programme is delivered by a consortium headed up by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. 

Michael Hughes Space & Place co-ordinator said: “The Space & Place consortium is delighted to see the transformation of Atlas Women’s Centre. The funding from the Programme has enabled them to create an imaginative space which will enhance the lives of people in the local community. 

“This renovated space which features improved childcare facilities and new outdoor spaces has created a vibrant new environment for local children, and a facility where mums and others in the community can come to undertake courses to improve their life chances,” said Michael.

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Director said: “We believe this facility, which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, will make a real difference to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area that they live in.”