Glenariffe community volunteers welcomed The Great Big Walk on Monday, June 5. The Northern Ireland walkers are part of a team of fifteen volunteers walking round the UK to shine a light on the work volunteers do to bring people together and help communities to thrive.
The Great Big Walk is an initiative from the Eden Project made possible with funding from the National Lottery.
After a five hour hike over the Garron Plateau from St Killian’s College to Glenariffe Forest Park, the two Northern Ireland walkers, Olivia Cosgrove and Noel Johnston, met volunteers from local groups including Glenariffe Oisins CLG hurling club, Friends of Glenariffe, Glenariffe Improvement Group, Glens Red Squirrel Group and Antrim Glens Tourism.
“The range of community projects going on here is amazing”. Olivia said. “Local volunteers are doing really great work bringing local people of all ages together and making a really positive impact on the community.”
Next stop was the Oisins CLG hurling field to see the local Under 10s and Under 12s in action. The walkers were presented with hurls and a sliothar and invited on to the pitch to give the game a go. Olivia and Noel then met up with the Friends of Glenariffe Committee to hear how the community has raised over £220k from local events and initiatives to contribute towards the cost of building a Community and Recreation Centre. The new Centre build project is now underway as Friends of Glenariffe have secured funding of £350,000 from The Big Lottery Funded Space & Place programme and £180,000 from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
“The Great Big Walk NI team’s visit to Glenariffe during Volunteers’ Week was very timely,” said Friends of Glenariffe Chair, Myra Murray. “We would like to acknowledge all our local volunteers who work so tirelessly throughout the year to help support the community and make all our projects and events a success.”