Old church could be community hub


A proposal to convert Cushendun Old Church into a community hub with a heritage and cultural focus was brought before the Causeway Coast and Glens Leisure and Development Committee on Tuesday.

A recommendation was made to bring the matter back to Council for full consideration following assessment by council officers of the business case carried by the committee.

Earlier the Cushendun Buildings Preservation Trust made a presentation on the Old Church project and although committee members were very much in favour of the restoration, they felt there could be other areas explored to aid with funding of the project at this stage.

The aim of the project is to restore the Old Church, making it an attractive venue for the community, to make it a hub for Heritage activities and to be economically substantive.

The Cushendun Buildings Preservation Trust have already secured Heritage Lottery Funding of £203,000 subject to them raising the remainder of the £201,000 which would be required to restore the Church.

At this stage £136,000 remains to be funded and with time running out on the availability of the Heritage Lottery grant, the Trust asked the Council to Support the project to the tune of £100,000.

Sinn Fein Councillor Kieran Mulholland believed the project would give the village a much needed face lift adding: “It is in a stunning location and I can see the potential.

“It is a quick stroll to the beach and village with a play park close by and I am fully behind the project.

“Cushendun is underfunded and underserved,” he added.

Councillor Mulholland proposed the recommendation that the business case for the project be assessed against the Council’s Investment Criteria and brought back to Council for further consideration.

SDLP Alderman Gerry Mullan seconded the proposal.

DUP Councillor Ian Stevenson felt it would be more beneficial if the council assisted the Project to find further funding saying: “I think it’s very noble seeking to preserve the building. I would like to help you but without giving you money. I am worried about setting a precedent. To my mind we have a funding person in the council who can help you. There are very many good community projects out there and if we give to one then we would have to give to all. We have a duty across the whole Borough but I’m not against the project.”