Bringing neighbours together to have fun, learn and work as a real community is at the heart of the community house network across the county.
In Cahir two community houses are fast becoming the central beat to their localities.
In Woodview the Tir na nOg community house has been up and running for a few years now, and an enthusiastic committee is hard at work to expand the activities and services that are offered at the house.
Catherine O’Donoghue is the chairperson of the committee. She told The Nationalist that the house had been closed for some time before she was approached to spearhead it’s reopening, when a new estate was built nearby.
“We really depend on community input and support. We started up as a youth club to give the kids somewhere to go and we’re making progress. We’re hoping to get other things up and running for other groups in the coming months.”
One of the groups Catherine hopes to see at the house is a new mother and toddler group this month.
The youth club aspect of the house is constantly growing in popularity. In recent months the kids have gone on an outing to Cahir Fire Station to learn about the firefighters’ work and they have also enjoyed parties, crafts and games. Very popular are the weekly bingo games which have had an unexpected spin off for the younger children as it is helping them learn numbers.
“Now that we are getting more children coming along we can do different activities for the different age groups,” Catherine added.
Stacey Ronan is the secretary of the community house committee and explains that the committee meet on the last Wednesday of each month. More people are always welcome to join the committee to help out or people can come along to the meetings even if there is something they want to raise, issue or ideas for use of the community house.
The current committee also includes treasurer Mary O’Donoghue, Magdalena Krasulok, Kim Ronan and junior leader Chloe O’Dwyer.
Catherine says she first got involved when invited to by a council liaison officer and thought it would be good to have something for the kids of the area. Now she enjoys being involved and says it’s particularly good to see the kids enjoying themselves.
Stacey was asked to join the committee by Catherine and says she is glad. Not only does she enjoy the weekly activities but says it’s nice when the kids recognise the leaders on the street and chat to them and seem to be looking forward to the next activities.
All the committee members take part in VEC training on first aid and are Garda vetted.
The youth club meets on a Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm, with a new group for the older children starting soon for the older age group.
Thanks to the activities awareness of the community house is growing in the neighbourhood. It has good support from local businesses too, many of whom have donated prizes for raffles in aid of the community house. Catherine says it’s been slow work but they are getting there. They are hoping to get more VEC course hours and would welcome suggestions for training courses from the community. The courses will be open to everyone.
The community house is not just for kids but everyone in the community. As well as setting up a mother and toddler group they hope to start a book club, get computers and do a mural on the walls. The committee are also hoping to transform the back garden into a play area, thanks to a grant from the County Council. Catherine invites anyone who may have a skill and can help out, or would be interested in giving a class, to get in touch. They would also welcome donations of toys or books that could be used at the mother and toddler group.
The community house is available to anyone in the community who would like to hold a course, club or meeting, day or night, just contact the committee.
“We’d like to thank the community and local businesses for their support,” Catherine says, adding her thanks to the County Council who also support the house. “The support of parents and kids is most important, thank you,” she adds.
Catherine can be contacted on 0874106542.