Images – Justin Kernoghan
This week has celebrated the opening of Northern Irelands first Veterans Centre, Harbour House in Portavogie. The shining beacon of light for veterans all over Northe
rn Ireland and wider afield, Harbour House has been developed, project managed and run by Beyond the Battlefield, one of Northern Irelands home grown service charities.
The vision of Beyond the Battlefield is to provide veterans and service people, no matter what their background, a safe place to relax, recuperate and recover. Comprising of several en suite bedrooms, dining room, kitchen and coffee bar, the centre not only gathers the ethos of service life and the facilities needed for a get away, but also has incorporated community interaction and support.
On Wednesday afternoon the Veterans Commissioner joined Beyond the Battlefield, local dignitaries, veterans, families and veteran organisations for the official opening of Harbour House. The atmosphere was joyful, hopeful and for some relief, after taking was a derelict building that had been badly damaged to the all encompassing and welcoming space that it has become today. Funds to complete Harbour House were hard fought for in gaining the finances to acquire, renovate and take the veterans centre from an aspiration to a reality. Connor Ferguson and Ian Reid both contributed hugely on their Big Dander adventures around NI and GB as well as community grant funding that was successfully achieved.
The Northern Ireland Veterans Commissioner, Danny Kinahan commended the great effort and endurance that was involved in bringing this project to life and reiterated the need of more such facilities in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that this centre is blue print for what can be achieved in the future.
Rab McCartney of Beyond the Battlefield said that he was thrilled to see Harbour House opened and thanked everyone from across Northern Ireland who have given the charity their support.
He said: “The support that we have received to develop Harbour House has been incredible and we are so grateful to everyone that has helped us.”
“This centre will not just be a place where veterans can come for a bit of respite and to enjoy themselves, but will be somewhere they can come in the case of an emergency or if they have become homeless and need a place to go and get back on their feet again.”
“There has never been anything like this in Northern Ireland and it will really have a huge impact on the veteran community here.”
Harbour House is available to be used by any veteran, service person or family member. Should you wish to find out more details, please contact Beyond the Battlefield
Tel: 028 9122 8389