Business

Lisburn charity completes £425,000 expansion

Pictured are: Atlas Women’s Centre manager, Gay Sherry-Bingham; Ulster Bank business development manager, Paul Reid and Mandy Gilmore.
Gareth McKeown

A LISBURN-based women's centre has expanded into new premises as part of a £425,000 investment.

Atlas Women's Centre, which has been operational in the city since 1989 has, with support from Ulster Bank, invested £75,000 in the purchase of a new business unit adjoining the centre's current premises on Railway Street. The charity, set up to improve the quality of life for the vulnerable and most disadvantaged adults and families in the local area, has also completed a full interior and exterior renovation of the new 4,000 sq ft centre through grant funding of £349,070 from the Big Lottery Fund.

A hub for all sections of the local community, the centre facilitates a host of regular activities and courses to enhance employability, ranging from personal development and confidence-building to more vocational training in food safety, child protection, paediatric first aid and more.

Participants and visitors to the centre also have access to specialist community workers who are available to offer guidance, practical support and mentoring to build confidence.

Atlas Centre manager, Gay Sherry-Bingham said the major response is in response to increased demand for services.

“Now is the right time to invest in the future of the centre. We are seeing increased subscription to the courses, activities and programmes we schedule and there is huge demand for the provision of community-based services such as ours. There's not only appetite, but there's a need. By investing in the purchase and renovation of the neighbouring property we will be in a position to scale active services and now have capacity to introduce new ones to meet changing needs.”

Paul Reid, business development manager at Ulster Bank added:

“We are very proud to support Atlas Women's Centre as it expands its base of operations to improve services and facilities. Its focus on delivering courses in literacy, numeracy and IT, among other vocational training, is helping more and more centre-users gain the skills and qualifications needed to achieve financial stability and start on the path to securing employment in the local job market."

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