Leah Fairman By Leah Fairman

| 28 May 2024

Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD) Celebrates 25 Years and Inaugurates New Enterprise Hub

Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD) proudly celebrated its 25th anniversary and the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Ballinasloe Enterprise Hub (BEH) on Society Street on May 23, 2024. The event was a grand success, marking a significant milestone in the community's ongoing efforts to support local businesses and create economic activity in the area.

The Ballinasloe Enterprise Hub is a €1.6 million project made possible through the support of many stakeholders and funders. Key contributors include the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, which granted €490,000 under the 2020 National Just Transition Fund; €250,000 from The Department of Rural and Community Development under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme 2022 via Galway County Council; and €35,000 from Galway Rural Development Company Ltd. BACD also contributed over €800,000 of their own resources, backed by Ballinasloe Credit Union. The Hub is part of the Siro/Vodafone Gigabit Hub Initiative and connectedhubs.ie.

Minister for Rural & Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, officially opened the Ballinasloe Enterprise Hub (BEH) and addressed the large crowd in attendance. She remarked, "State-of-the-art facilities like the Ballinasloe Enterprise Hub embody the core goals of ‘Our Rural Future’. They help create more vibrant town centres and make our rural communities better places to live, work, and raise a family. Remote working is key to this objective as it allows people to work within their own communities, avoiding long commutes to cities. I want to congratulate the entire team in Ballinasloe and thank them for collaborating with my Department to make their vision a reality."

Seamus Duffy, Chair of BACD CLG, acknowledged the many esteemed guests in attendance, including numerous past and present company directors, dedicated volunteers, and key stakeholders. BACD was officially formed as a registered company in 1999, when like-minded individuals and groups in the town united with the goal of revitalizing the area's economic fortunes. The company was founded by visionaries representing Ballinasloe Credit Union, Ballinasloe Chamber of Commerce, Ballinasloe Urban District Council, and Creagh Community Council, who were the driving force behind the establishment of the not-for-profit company. Over the past 25 years, BACD has been led by six different chairpersons—Catherine O'Connor, Gerry Bruen, Martin Halliday, Hugh Dolan, Micheal Staunton, and Seamus Duffy—supported by 58 current and previous board members, all serving in a voluntary capacity.

Seamus stated, "It has been a privilege to chair the company for the past 15 years, and with the opening of our new hub, we look forward to many more successful milestones and celebrations in the years to come."

Councillor Liam Carroll, the Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway, commented, "With a key focus on promoting and supporting entrepreneurship, the delivery of this facility has been realized through the commitment of BACD Ltd, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the support of the Department and Galway County Council. I wish to offer my congratulations to the Board of Directors, Chair Seamus Duffy, and Enterprise Manager Lyn Donnelly for their vision and capacity to match fund the project and deliver it on time and within budget."

Mairead Cullen, IT Director at Vodafone Ireland, speaking on behalf of Vodafone and SIRO, said, "Since the beginning of the Gigabit Hub Initiative, we have seen many communities realize the benefits that come with smart working and world-class connectivity. This vital infrastructure has helped to promote rural parts of Ireland as destinations for international business, enabling businesses to grow and scale to their full potential. We are delighted to welcome Ballinasloe Enterprise Hub to the Gigabit Hub Initiative and look forward to welcoming more hubs and seeing the impact they have as the network expands and the initiative continues to go from strength to strength."

Other major milestones for the company highlighted during the ceremony included Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre, Ballinasloe Life Magazine, The Pulse Club, The Town Team/Town Benchmarking Project with initiatives such as the town website, Business Network, zombie walk, and Christmas Illumination, along with other projects ranging from the TUS Learning Gate, Tourism Weekend, 10-Year Community Plan, and Sustainable Energy Community, to name but a few.

The new Hub is now operational, with office space and hot desks available for rent. Full details are available at www.ballinasloeenterprise.ie or by contacting Lyn Donnelly at lyn@bacd.ie or 0909646516.

For further information about this press release, contact Lyn on 0863070579 or lyn@bacd.ie

 

IMAGE: Minster Heather Humphreys with BACD Board members and staff Celebrating BACD’s 25th anniversary and opening of Ballinasloe Enterprise Hub:  Back Row: Martina Flanagan, Pearse Keller, Joe Lyons, Claire Gibbons, Brian King, Cllr Michael Connolly, Eoghan Kenny, Kevin Broderick

Front Row: Seamus Duffy, Minister Heather Humphreys , Lyn Donnelly

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