Our Background

Ballinran Community Association was founded in September 1990 with the object of providing a focus for community development within the community living in the hinterland of Kilkeel in the Newry & Mourne District Council area. It is a large rural area spreading from the coast into the highlands of the Mourne Mountains.

The Association was established to "promote the benefit of the inhabitants of the Ballinran area". It proposes to achieve this through a "common effort to advance education and to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for the protection of health and for recreation, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants"

The focus of this effort being to extend the social involvement of the community of the area with a view to building both its self-confidence and its capacity to participate in broader based community development activity.

Since its formation the Ballinran Community Association has encouraged the development of an active Youth Club and Summer Scheme. In the early days of the Association, leadership came from local residents and senior members of the Pride of Ballinran Flute Band. It has also developed an enthusiastic Women's Group (Ballinran Women's Forum). The local Football Club, the Valley Rangers, which has ten teams, is also associated with the Ballinran Community Association.

For more than 20 years the buildings located at 46 Ballinran Road, Kilkeel were prefabricated structures. They were small and unsuitable for many types of normal recreational activity. The ceiling height was too low to permit indoor sport and the overall condition and size made it impractical to offer much in the way of amenity.

Our Activites

The Association considered that to meet the needs of the community, as identified through local consultation, it would be necessary to create a new purpose designed community facility. The new facility would provide community provision that would enable the delivery of community development work, education and training activities. Through the empowerment of the community and the establishment of a community ethos within the people of the area it would eventually lead to outreach activities.

The population is scattered over a wide area, mostly in small hamlets or single isolated dwellings. There was no defined focus for the community within the area. It is predominately a rural, farming, area. Although relatively close to the more urbanised locales in and around the small town of Kilkeel (population 6,297) the population of Ballinran sees itself as being a distinctive and separate community.

The Association as being required by the wider community has identified a range of other popular activities. These included concerts and shows, dances and educational and cultural classes. The involvement of the championship Pride of Ballinran Flute Band and the keen interest in music within the community has provided a number of such concerts.

Examples of the range of activities offered by the Committee of the Ballinran Community Association are set out below:

Activity Activity
After School Activities Medical Facility / Advice services
Concerts Music classes
Drama and Poetry Scottish Country Dancing
Educational Classes Seniors events
Exercise & Fitness Events Social events, Quizzes, etc.
Historical Lectures (Local History) Sport
I.T Suite & Conference Centre Women's Group
Line Dancing Youth Activity

The Development

Following detailed discussions, the Association agreed to pursue the development of this new facility. The resulting new Multi-purpose Community Resource Centre now known as The Bracken Centre will meet both the existing and foreseeable needs of all potential user groups and will provide a focal point for the development of new community services and the establishment of a stronger community identity.

The remainder of the extensive site is used by the Valley Ranger Football Club as a football pitch. Pride of Ballinran Flute Band also use the hall. This is a championship band with approximately 60 members. It uses the hall for rehearsals and for the musical tuition of its members as well as concerts.

The Future

As well as meeting the needs of the community for education, training and recreation, a key strategic aim of the Association is to establish its community as a vibrant, confident and cohesive entity that has both the confidence and capacity to play its full part in the life of the wider area.

The new facility 'The Bracken Centre' will assist in the delivery of programmes and activities to improve the skills, competencies and aptitudes of residents, to enhance their employability and to develop community self confidence and capability.

The Bracken Centre is designed to accommodate community space, sports and recreational facilities, classrooms including an IT suite and a range of other amenities. Ballinran Community Association will work with strategic partners who can offer a wide range of activities that will improve and enhance the social well being of its community. In addition it seeks to promote social and cultural activities that are directed at improving the capacity and skills inherent within the community and improve its self-confidence.

Explore the Centre

Please click on the coloured rooms on the interactive map below to
explore the great facilities that we can offer to you.


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The Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2013 is part financed by the
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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