Almost forty years since it was first built, Fenagh Community Centre is be transformed with an extension and refurbishment expected to commence next month.
The hall was built in 1975 for just over £21,000, according to the old committee. “There was no grant then” members of the 70s committee told the Leitrim Observer as they gathered in the centre last week to welcome the funding of €334,000 from Leitrim Development Company for the new works.
The funding is a huge boost to the community who have been working on securing a grant for over four years. The estimated total project cost is €445,247.
The plans consist of the complete refurbishing of the centre and the building of an extension to the side and rear of the existing community centre. This extension will provide new facilities for the playschool and afterschool who currently occupy the main part of the hall as well as providing a large meeting place for the different organizations in the community.
There are plans for the construction of new entrance lobby and cloakroom area, upgrading of building energy conservation measures and standards and the provision of a storage facility/ dressing room and kitchen facilities as well as disabled access toilets. The main hall which will also be completely refurbished will provide an ideal facility for all groups in the community to use.
As well as the playschool and after school Fenagh Community Centre is home to Scor rehearsals, fitness classes, Foroige and Senior Citizen parties. It is hoped that when the development is completed that more groups will avail of the centre. Located beside the local church, the centre is in an excellent location to be used for a number of functions, events and meetings.
The centre has been leased to Fenagh Development Company for 20 years from the Parish Council, to allow work to commence shortly they have been given a bridging grant of €120,000 from Ulster Community Investment Trust Limited. Donal Traynor from USIT said they are delighted to be able to provide this funding to Fenagh Development Company.
Brian Smyth, Leitrim Development Company said this voluntary community group “have shown a capacity to bring the community along with them and to generate significant funds through fundraising and very careful management of their existing projects to build up reserves to be able to continue to invest and reinvest in their community. This is a large capital project and it will provide a substantial upgrade and improvement to these important community facilities and also to re-vitalize and re-energize the village area centered around the Church in Fenagh. This is an investment in this community for the generation to come and it is important to secure the future of this village and the services which are provided there.” Local councillors Gordon Hughes and Caillian Ellis commended and congratulated Fenagh Development Company on their hard work and dedication to the project which the whole community will benefit from.
The old committee said when they came up with the idea of a new hall in the 1970s “there was no grant then” so the members had to sell tickets, organise sponsored events and hold raffles. They said they sold tickets for the hall as far away as Dunlow, Co Donegal, Tullamore, Co Offally and Portlaoise, Co Laois. They group exclaimed their delight with this funding and laughed “we can die happy now!”
With works due to commence by mid May, it has been decided to run an event which will be a fundraiser for the Community Centre development. The Acorn Players will perform their play “The Two loves of Gabriel Foley” in Fenagh Community Centre on Friday 12th April. Tickets are €10 each. This is the last major event/ gathering that will be held in the Old Community Centre.
The committee wish to thank Fenagh Parish Council, Leitrim Development Committee, USIT, local politicians, Ballinamore Credit Union and Gearoid MacEochaidh who worked on the feasibility study with them along with all of the community for their support on the project.
This project received grant aid from the Leitrim Development Company Rural Development Programme which is financed by the Irish Government under the Rural Development Programme Ireland 2007-2013 and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural Areas.