Minister Humphreys takes a shot with local children
The partnership approach between the local community and Kilkenny County Council has resulted in the delivery of a fantastic recreational space in the centre of Thomastown in a very short period of time.
The recently-opened Thomastown Recreational/Park Amenity by Minister Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Justice, Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands and the Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Fidelis Doherty, has been very well received by the local community. The outdoor multipurpose amenity is located beside the centre of the town and since been opened is now a hub of activity with teenagers, children and adults now having a space where they can congregate outdoors, play tennis, basketball or badminton or just relax and have a coffee in this rejuvenated outdoor space.
The previously underutilised space was developed by Kilkenny County Council in partnership with a recently established group of local volunteers called the TCRAG (Thomastown Community Recreational Area Group) and the Thomastown Community Centre.
This state-of-the-art amenity secured €100,000 under the 2020 Town & Village Renewal Scheme to enhance the previously derelict amenity area behind the Community Centre. Kilkenny County Council delivered the Project and also contributed funding towards the facility with Kilkenny Leader Partnership.
The works completed included resurfacing of the existing run-down basketball and tennis courts, the enhancement of the open spaces including tidying up the site, removing old fencing, landscaping and the building of an amphitheatre/seated area. Other works include adding LED lighting over the courts and adding an outdoor accessible shelter with seating and picnic benches.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Fidelis Doherty, praised the facility saying: “This is a wonderful recreation/park facility located in the centre of Thomastown. It will provide opportunities for active living and recreation for all ages in a safe and inclusive environment and complement the existing and very well used children’s playground providing an amenity for older children, adults and the elderly for years to come.”
The local community volunteers, the Thomastown Community Recreational Area Group, (TCRAG), highlighted that utilising this once unusable open space post Covid-19 is now very important to promote and facilitate the potential to engage in both formal and informal sport and recreation as a community resource in the centre of Thomastown. This amenity now provides an outdoor space in Thomastown where people can use additional amenities in a safe and open space and this is helping inhabitants in the town to overcome issues and challenges presented by Covid-19.
Furthermore, as noted by Orla Carroll, Fáilte Ireland, Covid 19 has seen more people engage in outdoor recreation and consumer research indicates that this is expected to increase going forward. Outdoor recreational amenities similar to this can have significant and wide-ranging health benefits. People who have access to such amenities tend to be more physically active, which relieves symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
Following the opening of the facility, Chairman of the Callan/Thomastown Municipal District, Cllr. Michael Doyle, commented: “This outstanding amenity located beside the town's playground on the Community Centre's site now caters for children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. A huge congratulations to all involved in delivering this great project in Thomastown”.
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