Minister Michael Ring meets Hannah Carthy at St Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall PICTURE: PAT MOORE
On Thursday last, Minister for Community and Rural Affairs, Michael Ring and Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, John Paul Phelan applauded the work of volunteers and the Fr. McGrath Family Resource Centre team in Kilkenny city in saving and revitalising the community managed Age Friendly Neighbourhood Hall on the Butts Green.
The Family Resource Centre has, in the past six years, overseen a major investment to modernise one of the last old parish halls in the City to make it more accessible for future community users.
Now growing numbers of users are encouraging the voluntary Board of the family centre to finish their ambitious refurbishment plans.
Chairperson Pat Brennan outlined to the ministers the work to be carried out in the next three year plan that would see them raise and invest a further €70,000 to complete the modernisation process.
“So many community or potential facilities were lost during the wildest phase of the Celtic Tiger and this is one that we are proud to have a role in saving,” Mr Brennan said.
Minister Ring stressed the importance his department is placing on encouraging communities to develop social responses to issues in their area and develop volunteer supports and services that keep the community central to Irish society.
‘This project is a great example of the diversity of a changing Ireland while holding to our important values and our sense of community,” the minister said.
The centre will soon submit a new three year business plan to the department to build on the work of their last two plans.
Their aim is to find funding for a full time manager to help develop the full potential of this valuable and strategically placed community facility.
Jenny Cooke, part time manager of the Hall team that supports the many different user groups presently using the Hall said the project has helped people see the true potential of a great local facility.
“It is the objective of our next three year plan to make this project economically sustainable to serve the people of Kilkenny for as many generations in the future as it has in the past.’