History of the Site

Copelands is being built on the site of the former Childhaven and Craigmore buildings which had played an important role in the lives of many children, young people and older people between 1930 – 2011.

The site was given to BCM by Hugh Turtle, a Director of the firm that built the second Grosvenor Hall (home to the congregation which is part of BCM). The primary use of Templepatrick House, which was on the site at the time, was as the Missions’ Children’s Home, and it served that purpose well, proving itself to be the making of many who lived there. The buildings and surroundings were perfect for this purpose and ensured BCM met the needs of the young people in its charge.  

According to BCM records, the Mission had been running holidays in other venues for socially deprived mill workers from as early as 1905. However, with the holiday home located on the Millisle site, these eagerly anticipated breaks could be better structured and facilitated there. By the late 1930s each summer could see up to seven hundred children enjoy sun, sea, sand and good food  

In the 1980s BCM’s residential work developed into caring for adolescents. It was then that the unit was renamed Craigmore House (in honour of the home used by BCM in Aghalee, which closed in 1937).  The holiday home was also refurbished and reborn as BCM’s Childhaven Conference Centre. This Centre then became a hive of activity, as it found itself in use for conferences, residential stays and much more.

The BCM Holidays for Children and Older People also took place in these picturesque surroundings. With the venue proving to be particularly popular with those who stayed there, each looking forward to the camaraderie that went on during these breaks.

During its peak periods, Childhaven was a key component in BCM’s repertoire, ensuring disadvantaged young people, isolated older people and visitors enjoyed home cooked food, received top class service, had the opportunity to socialise and left with fond memories of their time there, no matter how short it was.

However, the building’s general condition and the economic climate proved to be tough hurdles to overcome and after much deliberation the sad decision was made to close the Centre for the last time in July 2011.

BCM are fully committed to the care and wellbeing of older people and continued to explore other more suitable uses for the site.  Plans for the site to become a market-leading centre for caring for those needing residential care and those living with dementia have been in the planning process for almost eight years and we are delighted that this site will remain as one where people are cared for and their quality of life improved.