After 10 years of delivering its church and charitable services from community spaces in the town, Antrim’s Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) has completed a six-figure investment in the purchase of its new, permanent home with funding support from Ulster Bank.
Based on the Lough Road, the former British Legion premises have undergone a major refurbishment programme to enable CFC to serve the needs of its church and the wider community.
Alongside the loan to acquire the premises, Ulster Bank funds were used to deliver a transformation programme which has seen the development of a 200-seat auditorium for worship, complete with on-site creche facilities and an open-plan welcome area from which CFC hopes to develop its work as a local foodbank collection point for The Trussell Trust.
CFC has also converted part of the first floor into a store from where it is acting as a distribution point for the local school uniform bank.
Established by First Antrim Presbyterian Church, the school uniform bank is organised and co-ordinated by a partnership between CFC and Oasis Antrim Community Support Hub to help families struggling with the cost of school uniforms by collecting donations and distributing new and pre-loved school wear.
Pastor Alister Wallace says: “For 10 years, our church has had the support of the local community throughout Antrim. During this time we delivered our church services and programmes from an enterprise park, school and the premises of a neighbouring church. Now, with the support of Lee and the team at Ulster Bank, we have our own permanent home and we want to open it up to give back to those that have helped us over the years.”
Ulster Bank business development manager Lee White adds: “Even without the benefit of a permanent base it was clear the positive impact CFC was having in the local area. We’re very pleased to be able to provide this funding facility that will see the church set down its roots and build upon the hugely important services it offers to some of the most vulnerable in our society.”
Pastor Ruth Wallace adds: “More than a building in which we can come together to worship on a Sunday, these premises will enable us to serve the entire community in Antrim throughout the week. It provides us with the facilities we need to continue our charitable and outreach work, but also the scale and scope to build upon it and be a pillar of friendship and support.”