Hillstown Rural Community Group (HRCG) was formed as a voluntary community organisation in 2008. The Group was established to access funding to improve the facilities at Hillstown Orange Hall and thereby provide a modern facility that can be used by and for the local community for a variety of activities.
In 2013 we completed the building of a new hall at Hillstown and we are currently completing the internal furnishings. This has taken quite a bit of time, effort and finance to get to this stage and we expect the hall to be fully completed and available for use from September 2014. Once completed, the hall will be available for hire for various functions and activities. The hall provides the opportunity for young and old from the local community to meet together in a safe, welcoming and friendly environment.
HRCG has already been involved in a number of community initiatives and we are currently working in partnership with Grange Cross Community Association on a Community Pharmacy Project. Within this project we work with a local Pharmacist who helps deliver a series of information sessions and events which promote health awareness and the role of the Pharmacist. We have a number of additional activities planned to commence in the autumn including a Day Trip, a Table Tennis Club, and a short History Programme. There are also opportunities for other activities to take place in the hall and we welcome ideas from members and local community regarding future activities and events at Hillstown. Hillstown Rural Community Group can also access opportunities for training such as Child Protection, PR & Media, Food Hygiene, Cook It, Understanding ADHD, Cultural Identity, etc.
Hillstown Rural Community Group is a member group of Bann Maine West (BMW) Community Cluster which was formed in 2010 by Ballymena Borough Council to support the voluntary and community sector within the rural area west of Ballymena. HRCG plays an active role within BMW and this provides our group with further opportunities to get involved in wider community activities such a monthly Seniors Lunch & Learn, Youth Projects, Day Trips, and Information Events.
HRCG is also a member of South Antrim Community Network (SACN) who provides Community Development and Social Enterprise support to communities within the two new super councils of Antrim and Newtownabbey and Mid and East Antrim. This is done by determining and responding to the key issues impacting on the lives of local people, and rolling out programmes on anti-poverty and social inclusion. SACN has also provided many new programmes and services including: Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Health and Well-being and Maximising Access in Rural Areas (MARA).