End of an era as Ballykeel community worker Joe retires after 35 years

Thursday, 18 May 2017

End of an era as Ballykeel community worker Joe retires after 35 years thumbnailFiona McKeown, Housing Executive; Gillian Forrest, Supporting Communities; Denise Reynolds, Mid and East Antrim Council and Kevin Woodin, Health Officer Mid and East Antrim Council say a big thank-you to community worker, Joe Thompson.

JOE Thompson, a man steeped in efforts to improve the lives of young people in Ballykeel, has retired from his voluntary role as chairperson of the Ballykeel 2 Residents Association.
Joe began community work in 1982 by coaching and managing the local football team.
The young people trusted him and it became evident that there was a lack of services for this age group.
Joe with a few others came together to form a group and ran a number of programmes, events and trips for the local young people.
In the 80's & 90's Joe worked with the local Police to run the "Blue Lamp disco's" with young people turning up in their droves every Saturday night.
Gillian Forrest, Liaison officer for Supporting Communities said: "As a young person I was one of those young people who lived in Ballykeel 2 and went to the "Blue lamp discos" which were the highlight of my weekend.
“In recent years within my role as Liaison officer with Supporting Communities it has been a pleasure to support Joe in his role as chairperson.
“I would like to congratulate Joe for all his work over the years and hope he has many years to enjoy his retirement.
“He has been a pleasure to know personally and through my role in supporting communities, but I have no doubts that we haven't heard the last of Joe."
As unemployment increased in the area Joe was happy to get involved in the management of the Ace Scheme, bringing young men off the streets and giving them an opportunity to gain skills, which included painting and decorating and horticulture.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.


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