Killylea Silver Band was sounding in fine form recently as it celebrated the opening of the extensively renovated 19th century Old School Hall in the Armagh village.
The group received initial grant funding of £339,573 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Space & Place Programme which it has used to create a much needed new community facility for the Killylea area, with the support of National Lottery players.
The area had no community centre for a number of years since the Old School Hall had fallen into disrepair having been closed up 12 years ago. With no venue for local people to take part in courses and events, the community was missing out on important social and educational opportunities.
Having completely gutted the old building and quite literally raised the roof, Killylea Silver Band has worked hard to deliver a new space which makes use of a historic building and which will help tackle long-standing challenges including social isolation.
The new space includes a large hall, as well as meeting and training rooms which can be used for a wide range of activities including culture and training, as well as amateur dramatics.
Community projects will also be delivered by a number of local groups helping to reduce social isolation and increase connectivity in the area.
Speaking at the opening of the new hall, Tom Livingstone from Killylea Silver Band said:“The Band was delighted at the level of local community support at our opening night and all agreed the Old School Hall will provide much needed up to date facilities for the Band and theKillylea community as a whole”.
Michael Hughes Co-ordinator of the Space & Place Programme said: “The Space & Place Programme is delighted that the people of Killylea now have a vital new community facility which can be used for a range of purposes.
“One of the key aims of the Space & Place Programme is to connect communities through the better use of space. The significant renovation work undertaken by Killylea Silver Band, not only respects the heritage of and makes use of a historic building, in doing so it also addresses important social issues including rural isolation and community cohesion.”
Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair said: “We’re exciting to see this facility, which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, 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.”