Brookville Enterprises/Ballymena South Cluster

Brookville Enterprises was established in 2018 for redevelopment and revitalisation of the Mid-Antrim area and to advance community development. The particular focus of the group is based on the needs of the local communities living in South Ballymena. Brookville Enterprises works across the Council Wards of Harryville, Ballee and Ballykeel, which fall inside the top 200 of the most deprived Council Wards in Northern Ireland as outlined in the latest NISRA Statistics.

Mentor: Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP)

The particular focus of the group for the Elevate project was based around Brookville’s Scullery O’Tullagh Project, located in Tullygarley in the outskirts of Ballymena, where activities include the sowing, growing and harvesting of fruit and vegetables.

This was the second project that Elevate had supported at Tullygarley. The first project allowed the group to complete their covered reception area to make the area more accessible and useable for local groups, while this project allowed the group to consolidate their position by inviting various groups such as the local running club, the local seniors’ club and local artists to visit their expansive site. The purpose of the project was to share the knowledge of being able to grow your own vegetables/fruit so that in addition to being physically active, participants could also create and develop nutritious and delicious meals –hence the Plot to Plate programme. The impact of this programme was that it enabled people who were isolated to come to the allotments, meet new people and reduce their feeling of isolation especially during lockdown.

Through the Elevate mentoring support they received from Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) the group focused on expanding their activities further out into the community. They learned how to break the insular culture they previously had and go ‘outside their box’ to positively engage with other individuals/groups, to show them the value of the work that they were doing and, in many cases, to help the other groups on their own particular journey. The sessions with the mentor also helped the group to see the importance of addressing health inequalities through education and awareness.


Using the connections that they made, Brookville was able to offer its services to more groups. One such group was the CAN group in Ballymoney, who have a Farm Project which is also supported through Elevate. This new relationship came about through the networking aspect of the Elevate programme. With many synergies between the projects, they have shared much information and learning, to the extent that next year it is envisaged that the Scullery O’Tullagh project will be a supplier of seedling plants to the farm.

The impact that the project had on the volunteers who participated was that they learnt about the health benefits of gardening and being out in the fresh air as well as supporting peoples’ learning and skills development on growing fruit and vegetables and nutrition, which in turn helped to boost their confidence and mental health and well-being.

The mentoring from MEAAP enabled the group to reach out to other groups and individuals, and they had a great increase in people wishing to be volunteers at Scullery O’Tullagh allotments. The Elevate programme taught Brookville Enterprises to understand, in a completely new light, the impact that the day-to-day inputs and outputs of their project have in delivering community initiatives. The project has also given the group confidence to move to the next level of project development, engaging more people with their activities. It has also helped with their learning about why health inequalities exist and how to tackle them.

Realising that their allotments could be utilised for Social Prescribing was a boom moment – this service supports the health service by offering community-based initiatives, run by the community, for the community.

Two of Brookville’s volunteers undertook the Elevate training on community development and health inequalities and found this extremely useful and relevant on their Elevate journey. The importance of looking at the bigger picture and taking as many issues into consideration as possible when helping/supporting people experiencing difficulties, through community-based approaches was a key element of the Elevate programme and one that Brookville will use in their work going forward.

“Elevate’s greatest attribute is that it allows people and communities to grow. It is all about the bigger picture, which can help us to understand more about health inequalities, what they are and how they can impact on an individual and the wider society. We also learnt that community development and empowerment are some of the most effective ways to address health inequalities, enabling people to make healthier decisions about lifestyle choices.”

William Millar, Chairman, Brookville Enterprises