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Group set up after loyalist massacre could be closed

 

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Phelim Curran whose bakery is still operating at the Vale Centre in
Greysteel as other business remain closed

Phelim Curran whose bakery is still operating at the Vale Centre in Greysteel as other business remain closed

Phelim Curran whose bakery is still operating at the Vale Centre in Greysteel as other business remain closed

A cash-strapped community enterprise set up in the aftermath of the Greysteel massacre may have to mothball its business because it is excluded from Government help.

 

Greysteel Community Enterprise (GCE), based at the Vale Centre, was formed in 1994, a year after the loyalist terror attack.

UDA gunmen entered the Rising Sun bar in the Co Londonderry village and shot dead seven people on October 30, 1993. Another man died later from his injuries.

Since then the Vale Centre has expanded its remit to provide business units for local entrepreneurs.

But income for the GCE has all but dried up since the majority of this business was forced to close as part of the coronavirus control measures.

Director of GCE, Bridie Mullan, said they are missing out on the Government funding that is helping other businesses stay afloat.

She said: "We were set up to promote health and wellbeing in the community following the shootings in the Rising Sun in 1993 - to engage young people, offer play facilities and to give entrepreneurs workspace.

"Since the lockdown we have obviously had to shut but there seems to be no money for organisations like ours coming down the line which has left us in a very precarious position.

"Sport NI did give us £2,000 which they gave to all sporting facilities, but other than that we have had no Government help whatsoever.

"The Department for the Economy were offering £10,000 to businesses have a rateable value of up to £15,000 and £25,000 for businesses whose rateable value is up to £51,000.

"Our rateable value is £61,000 so we are excluded and although we are a charity and as such do not pay rates, other businesses who are de-rated have qualified for this assistance."

Mrs Mullan said even though the majority of the business units, gym and sports facilities run by GCE have had to close because of coronavirus control measures, running costs have continued.

She added: "Our running costs can be up to £5,000 a month, between insurance, electricity and security

"If this is going to go on until October and we have to close ­ then so will 20 businesses as well.

"If we don't get some kind of assistance from the Government soon we are going to have to mothball everything."

The Department for the Economy was contacted for a response.

Belfast Telegraph