The Bishop of Limerick, the Rt Rev Trevor Williams, returned to his old parish in north Belfast on Thursday October 23 to officially open a community project in the grounds of Immanuel Church.
Bishop Williams, who was rector of Holy Trinity and St Silas with Immanuel, Ardoyne, until his appointment as Bishop earlier this year, opened the Ardoyne Ballysillan Care (ABC) thrift and coffee shop.
ABC is a newly formed community organisation which only opened in its new buildings in Immanuel Church grounds on September 10. In addition to the coffee shop and thrift shop, the project will also offer computer and other work related training, and a hairdressing salon which will benefit hairdressing trainees and local ladies and gents looking for an inexpensive hairdo.
Sharon Dunn, who is a parishioner of Holy Trinity, is manager of the ABC project. She said: “We are trying to put something back into the community. It is an underprivileged area and there are not many shops around.
“The thrift shop will sell nearly new clothes for next to nothing and the coffee shop will provide somewhere for people to call in for a chat or bit or craic.”
Sharon said the training room was fitted with computers and would allow young people to receive training in work related skills.
The land for the project was granted by the parish, and ABC received funding from the Urban II programme, administered by the North Belfast Partnership as part of European Regional Development Funds; the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund and Tearfund for the building. Sharon is the only paid employee at present and the project is otherwise staffed by students and volunteers.