New community centre is a home from home in St. Oliver’s parish

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

The new community centre in St. Oliver’s in Clonmel was in demand as soon as it opened its doors.

“The building opened the week before Christmas and the group organising keep fit classes were the first to use it. Art classes and sewing classes have since followed and it’s great to see the centre up and running”, said committee members Jimmy Moloney and Leo Fitzgerald.

The centre has enhanced facilities for the thousands who live in St. Oliver’s, a densely-populated parish that includes almost 1,500 households.

“It’s a great addition to the parish and the area and is another place for people to meet”, says Jimmy Moloney.

It’s envisaged that the centre, located beside St. Oliver’s Church in Glenconnor, will bring people together and help prevent the problem of people living in isolation, which exists even in areas of urban communities, as well as strengthening community spirit.

The Wednesday Club for senior citizens and the Stroke Support Group, which helps stroke victims and their families, will be the next groups to set up home there. It’s also hoped in time to organise computer and cookery classes, as well as reviving the Marian Mothers Group and the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, which would also be welcomed through its doors. It has already accommodated meetings of the school board of management and Pastoral Council.

“It’s a centre for all the parish and parish-related activities”, says Leo Fitzgerald.

All housing estates in the area can use the building free of charge for residents meetings, while community groups availing of the facilities won’t have to be specifically based in St. Oliver’s Parish.

Work on the 3,200 square feet single-storey building, which is wheelchair accessible, started last May. It includes a large general purpose hall, two smaller meeting rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen to cater for functions, a canteen/lounge and toilets.

The functions that it can cater for include gatherings that are held after ceremonies such as baptisms, First Holy Communion, Confirmation and funerals, where people can drop in and enjoy a cup of tea after the ceremonies.

Two car parks provide space for 60 cars. The funding for the car parks, roads and landscaping was allocated by the Cahir-based South Tipperary Development Company, and for which the committee is very grateful.

The centre was built at a cost of E400,000. The parish has to meet a debt of E130,000 on its interest-free diocesan loan, which is repayable over six and-a-half years at E20,000 a year. E40,000 of that E130,000 debt has already been repaid.

Jimmy Moloney’s partici-pation in the Dublin City Marathon last October, when he raised E7,800 by walking the 26 miles course, is to be followed by further fundraising activities this year.

Any donations to help reduce that debt would be welcomed by the committee.

The centre is run at present by the Parish Council and the finance committee. It will be officially opened in the spring and in the meantime is proving a great addition to both parish and community life.