€500,000 boost for Clonmel community centre

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

The transformation of the old convent building in Gladstone Street, Clonmel into a new community centre received a major boost this week with the news that the South Tipperary Development Company has approved €500,000 funding for the project.

The first part of the centre, the Place 4U cafe for the active ageing, has been a major success since it opened last August while the youth cafe, Place 2B opened last week.

The €500,000 funding will be put towards the €1 million cost of developing the second phase of the building, which includes the basement, ground floor and first floor. The completed centre is expected to open sometime next year.

The Sisters of Charity vacated the building in November 2002 and the property was transferred back to the ownership of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore. It was subsequently handed over to Place 4 U Ltd. on a 100-year lease granted by the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop William Lee. The mission statement of Place 4 U is to “develop the parish as a community of care and outreach in response to different forms of need and disadvantage in its midst”.

The nun’s chapel (where the Place 4U cafe for the active ageing is based) and the convent are being upgraded and refurbished for future use as a multi-purpose community centre, which incorporates the youth café. The objective of the youth café is to provide a comfortable, accessible facility for youth-related activities in the town, as there’s no such facility for young people in Clonmel. The older generation also have a need to meet, mix, socialise, learn, teach, work and relax, and neither is there such a facility that caters for this in the town centre.

The project will also accommodate a centre for the location of essential community, voluntary, socio-economic and social services that is easily accessible, recognisable and presented in a safe, secure and friendly environment, in addition to a centre for the provision of training and further education services to individuals and community groups. The proposed works will enable the community to use the centre for a wide range of functions.

The South Tipperary Development Company, which is based on the Clogheen Road in Cahir, is funding the project under the Rural Development Programme under the auspices of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, and underpinned by funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The company initially secured €11.2 million to fund eligible projects throughout South Tipperary over the 5-year programme.

At the midway point of the Rural Development Programme, South Tipperary Development Company has successfully distributed 50% of its funding, assisting numerous worthwhile projects to come to fruition, thereby creating and supporting employment, tourism projects, protecting the environment and heritage and enabling training for people in the heart of communities.

South Tipperary Development Company also manages the Local Community Development Programme, which strives to alleviate social disadvantage and create a more equal and inclusive society by supporting lifelong learning, responding to early school leaving and by providing specific interventions leading to increased job readiness.

The company also manages the Rural Social Scheme, TUS and the Rural Recreation Scheme, which incorporates an impressive collection of walks throughout the entire county.

South Tipperary Development Company are actively encouraging the public to come forward with their ideas. The staff are only too willing to assist in the development of ideas and ultimately to secure funding.

They can be contacted at (052) 7442652 or info@stdc.ie