On the edge of town, but in the heart of the country

Bellanaleck has blossomed over recent years into a strong community in its own right, as well as a commuter haven.

IT may be known by four different names, but the Bellanaleck area beats with one strong heart.
Known as Bellanaleck, Arney, Mullymesker and Cleenish, the area has blossomed over recent years to become an important community in its own right as well as a ‘satelite’ village for Enniskillen.
Rachel Harron is leader of the Tiny Tots Cross Community Playgroup, situated one mile from the village of Bellanaleck beside Cleenish Millennium Hall. 
“We’ve been here since April 2001 but the group has been running for over 25 years.”
Rachel explained that the playgroup aims to provide a happy, safe child centred, caring environment that is stimulating and challenging for young children. 
“We’re getting bigger numbers every year because of the growth of families in the community. We’re cross community and at the moment we’re in a shared education scheme with Florencecourt Nursery just down the road. It’s called ‘Little Bridges’ and will involve an end of year trip.”
She sees the playgroup as an important cog in community life, a place where many children begin their educational life.
“We’re enthusiastic and committed providing a supportive environment to ensure each child develops to their full potential,” she said. 

Shea McIntyre, Cara-Jane Baxter and Amy Meehan (above) have fun at the messy play station at the thriving Tiny Tots Cross Community Playgroup.

Internet key to local business success story
Aidan Corrigan who works with the family owned McCullagh’s Machinery and farm equipment supplieragreed that things were looking up in the area and business has been good.
“The only thing that is slowing us down at the moment is the weather,” he quipped. “Farmers are looking out of their window before they think about buying anything, but when they get a sniff of sunshine then things really pick up.”
The well established company has expanded this year, building new sheds and investing heavily in the site on the edge of the village, where they have been based since 1998. 
“We’re selling tractors to Canada and machinery to Nigeria,” explained Aidan, “all on the back of the internet. 
“Yes, we’re pushing heavily on the internet now with quite a few sales going to England.”
He went on to explain that a high percentage of used machinery goes south.
“We’ve always had a good flow of machinery to the south, probably because of where we are located. We’re easily accessible and we’re getting good trade from places like Cork, Kerry and Tipperary.”
However, nobody knows how Brexit will affect business, but Aidan feels that McCullagh’s won’t worry too much about it. We can only carry on business as usual and wait and see,” he added. 
‘It’s good to be back…’
George Cathcart who was born and bred in Bellanaleck has returned home after many years away.
He has been part of the community group since his return ten years ago helping to improve and develop the area for everyone.
“The group is very active. We began by doing a lot of work to the little park by the marina. 
“Soon after there was a MUGA [recreation facility] built to provide facilities for people of all ages,” he explained.
A third generation Cathcart from Bellanaleck, he has seen the development of the ‘Old Quarry site’ Bellanaleck Community Sensory Garden and a carpark. The group is now involved in a biodiversity project in the garden to improve the general habitat for wildlife. 
“The quality of life here is generally very good. That makes it particularly appealing,” he added. 

Lauri McCusker, Director of the Fermanagh Trust, says he was drawn to the area by the strong and very welcoming community.

No regrets making the move out of Enniskillen
Lauri McCusker, one of many residents who has moved from Enniskillen, has been involved in the local community association for several years and says the area is going from strength to strength. “There was a small community here for many years mainly in the village, but in recent years the community has spread. 
“It’s very mixed area now with younger families, principally in their 40s, from all sorts of backgrounds, coming to live here,” he explained. 
“We have a lot of residents from all over Europe and you can see that readily in the schools,” he added. 
He went on to say that he and his family moved to the area primarily because of the people. 
“I would have known quite a few families before moving here. They are good people and are involved in all walks of life.”
He worked very closely with the Cleenish Group developing the Millennium Hall in the late 1990s.
“I suppose that was the first thing that drew me there. I realised it was a strong community and very welcoming,” said Lauri.
“Along with that it is a beautiful area and a great place to bring up a family. It has a wonderful playschool and school as well as community groups with a lot of activities taking place regularly.
“It really is a positive place and increasingly so,” according to Lauri.
Perfect place for families
Paul McGowan, a financial advisor in Enniskillen, moved to Bellanaleck when he married his wife Jackie. 
Over 16 years later, and with two children, he feels that it is one of the best places you could live in Fermanagh.
“We’ve got quite a bit going for us here at the moment – good community, good schools and good sport. 
“We’re close to lakes and just a short drive away from Florencecourt and Cuilcagh.
“It’s close to Enniskillen and there are quite a number of new families moving here because of that,” he said. 
“To me it’s a second generation town and we get heavily involved in community activities. It has grown in size significantly in recent years and that’s probably because it has so much going for it. It’s really the perfect satellite town for  Enniskillen,” added Paul.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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