Glens innovation centre backed by Antrim hurler McManus 'a model for all communities'

Aerial view of the new innovation centre in Cushendall
Aerial view of the new innovation centre in Cushendall

A NEW innovation centre has been officially opened on the site of the former police station in Cushendall, providing opportunities for people to work locally.

The project is the culmination of years of work by community interest company Grow The Glens and is seen of huge significance for the Glens of Antrim

It will bring new offices, workspaces, and communal areas to facilitate remote, flexible and hybrid working as well as helping new and growing businesses.

Grow the Glens has worked with a committed group of local businesses and political representatives to secure vital funding to transform the disused police station into a vibrant business hub.

And they hope the project will be a model for rural communities in across the north.

Cushendall native and former Antrim hurler Neil McManus has been involved with the project since its inception.

He said: "I’ve grown up in this community and played my sport here for many years.

"Bringing an old disused building back to life through this superb modern facility is really going to be a fantastic asset to our community.

"Working together to make this place a hub for our people, to keep them living and working in an area that they love and that they were raised in, is a special achievement. It symbolises a new beginning and I’m proud to be able to live and raise my family here."

He added: "This can be a model for other communities and government partnerships. The hub isn’t just about a building; it’s a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses can come together, to collaborate, innovate, and grow. There is no limit to its potential."

Grow the Glens chair Liam O’Hagan added: "This has only been made possible due to the perseverance and determination shown by the team, as well as the countless hours of work dedicated to making this project a reality.

"We are grateful for the unwavering support from the local community and the public representatives who got behind the project.

"This hub offers value for money and highlights the importance of equitable community and government funding for towns and rural areas alike, giving everyone the option to live and work where they grew up and to raise the next generation, knowing that there is a future there for them.”

Grow the Glens has already planned phase two of the Innovation Centre which, as well as adding another 15 desk spaces, will increase the potential for community use and act as a catalyst for future economic development in the area.