A voluntary group from Ballysally who works in the community to provide a healthy eating café within the estate has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Building Ballysally Together (BBT) is a community group, made up of volunteers and runs a number of successful projects for the benefit of the residents.
They are the voice of a deprived community and have been key to improving the area. Since their formation they have worked tirelessly in building relationships with the local statutory agencies to improve conditions and better services within the Ballysally estate. Their work has included engagement in the Neighbourhood Renewal process and is a champion for issues affecting local residents.
Two of the most successful projects they have developed are the ‘Healthy Eating Café’ and a ‘Growing Places Community Garden’ which remain a vibrant part of life in the estate today.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.
BBT received the award from the Lord Lieutenant of County Londonderry
Lord-Lieutenant County Londonderry Denis F Desmond CBE, said he was delighted to present the award to the local group. “I hope that the success of the group in receiving this prestigious award, the equivalent of the MBE for volunteers, will encourage others to nominate more groups for the Award in the future,” he said.
On collecting the awarde, Mr Lexie Hynds Chairperson of Building Ballysally Together, said: “This is a very proud moment for me to accept this award on behalf of Building Ballysally Together and for all the residents, friends and individuals who have made this possible.
“Our aim will be to continue to improve the social and environmental conditions for local residents of Ballysally and to promote community cohesion within the estate.
“I would like to thank everyone involved, and to those who provided essential support to our group such as the Department of Social Development, the Housing Executive and the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. “