Our Story

In 1984, the Ballinderry River Enhancement Association (BREA) was established by the four angling clubs on the Ballinderry River in Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  

The Association was formed in response to the dwindling numbers of native Dollaghan trout in the river and the associated problems of water pollution and riverine habitat loss across the catchment.  
The aim of BREA is to ‘Restore the Ballinderry River to its former greatness’  

BREA changed its name to Ballinderry Rivers Trust in 2012.

Trust Timeline

1984   
Four angling clubs on the Ballinderry River, concerned with the pollution of the river and the demise of the native dollaghan trout, form the Ballinderry River Enhancement Association (BREA)

1985    
BREA restores an abandoned trout hatchery at Orritor and starts to breed native brown trout and dollaghan trout.
David Freeburn (late), previous operator of the Orritor hatchery oversees the running of the hatchery on a voluntary basis

1986    
Restocking of the Ballinderry begins, alongside talking to landowners about water quality and drawing down funding for habitat improvement

1987    
BREA starts ‘The River School’ in a porta cabin next to the hatchery

1994    
BREA establishes a not-for-profit community business called Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd.  The company deals with the breeding of the fish and starts to undertake consultancy work, gifting its profit back to BREA to allow it to undertake more work on the river
Alan Keys is appointed Manager of Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd and Coordinator of BREA
Frank Mitchell is appointed Hatchery Technician

1995    
BREA and Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd’s purpose built offices and River School are opened

1998    
Alan Keys (founding member) and Leo Cassidy (long-standing Chairperson) are awarded MBE’s by Her Majesty The Queen for Services to Conservation

2004    
Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd begins to deliver WWF Northern Ireland’s freshwater projects in partnership with the global conservation organisation
Mark Horton is appointed as Coordinator of New Projects

2006    
BREA becomes a company limited by guarantee, recognised as a charity for tax purposes in Northern Ireland
BREA joins the Association of Rivers Trusts and becomes the first ‘rivers trust’ in Northern Ireland

2009    
BREA celebrates its 25th anniversary on the river and, to mark this milestone, welcomes the charity’s first Patron, Joe Mahon, filmmaker and presenter of the popular UTV series Lesser Spotted Ulster

2012    
Ballinderry River Enhancement Association changes its name to Ballinderry Rivers Trust
Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd changes its name to River Care Ltd

2013    
After 19 years as Manager, Alan Keys decides to step down as Manager to allow him to focus on project work within the Trust.
Mark Horton is appointed as Manager of Ballinderry Rivers Trust and River Care Ltd

2014    
The newly refurbished Ballinderry River School is re-opened by Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan MLA.