Association 'overwhelmed' by toy appeal response

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

Members of the recently formed Ballykeel 2 & District Community Association spent last Saturday working hard on the last day of their toy appeal "Here To help At Christmas".

And the group would like to thank the community at large for their fantastic response to anappeal for toys and gifts which will be distributed in the local community.

A spokesperson said: “We were over whelmed with the amount of toys and gifts that were donated over the last couple of weeks.

“We had never anticipated how many children we would be able to try and make this Christmas a little happier.

“After we had used what was needed locally to brighten up a child's Christmas we delivered the remaining donations to other community groups throughout the town of Ballymena.

“We also thank The Rev. Martin McNeely and Ballykeel Presbyterian Church for the use of their hall and Ballykeel 1 moving forward group for their kind donation of selection boxes and the use of their garage for storage.

“We can now turn our attention to bringing some Christmas spirit and cheer to our estate , Lord knows we need it after this terrible year for the residents of Ballykeel 2.”

The new group was started around the time of the first Covid outbreak.

“A number of residents from Ballykeel 2 got together to see how they could help out the local community within the estate.

“We worked on the idea of visiting our elderly residents to help in anyway we could.

“This included going to the local shops for groceries, cutting grass or fixing fences. Basically anything that needed to be done to make life a little easier during the outbreak.

“Then we found ourselves cutting grass for local care homes, which the members of the group found very rewarding.

“Members of the group also came up with the idea of starting a local band.

“ This saw the formation of the Corona Virus Flute Band. The idea was that the band would be formed to help the community celebrate the 12th of July, during the Covid outbreak. This was a great success and it helped keep the spirits of the local community on a high, both for the young and elderly. It also saw members of other local bands and our young people come together. The climax came when the band went on the road "for the last time" on Derry day.

“While we were doing this the idea came around to start a Ballykeel 2 & District Community Association.

“The aim of the group is to bring pride back into the estate. The estate has been through so much pain and heartache over the last few years. We intend to with the help of the residents bring pride and love back to "our wee estate".

“We want to make it a place where people are happy to live, bring a sense of community and oneness back.

“We are hoping to do this by including our whole community in a number of events.

“This would include education programmes, sport, visits to other areas.

“Of course these are at a early stage of planning, but with the help of our community and other local associations we are hoping to see these come into fruition very soon.

“Once again we would like to thank everyone who donated gifts and helped with our first project "Here To Help At Christmas ".

“Ballykeel 2 &District Community Association would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. Proud To Be A Keeler"

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