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Cullybackey Community Partnership

In 2023, Cullybackey Community Partnership (CCP) were awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service. To learn more about the fantastic work they deliver in County Antrim, we got in touch with Group Leader, Paul Christie.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

The group came together in 2016 having operated as two groups previously. It covers a wide range of activities: running a business centre providing office, retail and workshop space for the benefit of small up-and-upcoming businesses. 

We also compete in “in bloom” competitions, which involves working with local businesses, uniformed groups, schools and individuals who all help with planting, watering, litter picking and street sweeping all beneficial to their health and wellbeing and providing a feel-good factor for the people of the village. We run health projects for older people improving their understanding of their health needs and encouraging them to seek help from various different sources. Finally, we also run recreation classes bringing the community together and creating a bond between participants.

Volunteers at the Millennium Riverside Walk

How has your work impacted the community?

Because of the diversity of the work done, the group has created a widespread impact. The environmental group has impacted everyone in the community promoting local pride and increasing interest in ‘growing your own’ and saving the environment. The health projects have impacted the older people providing health advice, alleviating loneliness and bringing them together in a social setting. The business has impacted on set-up and young businesses providing them with suitably sized and affordable accommodation.

Volunteers at a recent community event

What do volunteers get involved in?

Volunteers are offered a wide range of activities. Age participation ranges from 6 years to 80 years with some volunteers having been involved for around 30 years. The younger volunteers help with the outdoor physical work while the older ones manage the business, lead health projects, and participate in community events.

Volunteers at a community project

What does being awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service mean to the group and its volunteers?

Being awarded the KAVS means a great deal to the group and to the community. It has also attracted comments on social media, which have been an inspiration and have led to looking more closely at how we can improve our future performance.

Volunteers at Christmas lights switch on 2023

What plans do you have for the future?

We have a number of exciting plans. We are keen to involve younger people and are already planning a young people’s workshop to explore what input they could provide.

We are looking at the demand for and possible location for a men’s shed and community allotments. We  have a number of workshops planned which we hope will increase interest in our work and bring in new volunteers.

Volunteers at Christmas lights switch on 2023

How can the public get involved?

The public can and do get involved on social media. They make full use of Facebook and provide feedback on all the group’s activities. We also use a local newsletter to recruit volunteers.

Cullybackey Community Partnership website