THE 23,000 leaders, officers and members of Northern Ireland's largest uniformed youth organisation – the Girls' Brigade (Northern Ireland) is celebrating the official opening of its first purpose-built headquarters at Kilbegs Park in Antrim.
GBNI has also appointed its first-ever Northern Ireland patron, UTV presenter and former GB member Lynda Bryans.
Brigade president Morva Brown confirms: “Northern Ireland has the largest GB membership per head of population in the world and we needed a modern, practical and contemporary building which reflected our work in today’s society.
“Our new HQ provides staff and leaders with high-tech conference and training facilities and members and their parents can avail of an up to date online shop and warehouse.”
Girls’ Brigade NI is a Christian-based organisation and currently employs 14 full and part-time staff and management activities carried out at their new headquarters include the design and implementation of the GB leadership programme with an average of 400 new leaders trained each year. Ongoing refresher training is also delivered for another 200 trainees.
There are 291 GB companies in Northern Ireland managed by 3,228 volunteer leaders looking after 19,343 girls.
The first GB company in Ireland was founded in Sandymount Presbyterian Church, Dublin in 1893 whilst the first Northern Ireland based GB company formed in Enniskillen Presbyterian Church in 1940.
The most recent GB company to set up is at Kirkpatrick Presbyterian Church in East Belfast which was affiliated last month.