A big winter programme starts this week from Kilkenny’s newest Neighbourhood Centre and young and old in the Parish will be the biggest winners as the voluntary and community partnership effort launches its first three year enterprise plan.
A morning drop in cafe for all ages, games, social networks, snooker activities, indoor bowling, table tennis, craft classes for children, dance classes for all ages and Tea Dances for older people are just some of the latest activities to run alongside Kilkenny’s longest running parish Bingo on Tuesday nights.
The weekly activity programme just published and been letter dropped to parish households this week is dependent on volunteers, support from the Fr. McGrath Centre’s FAS C.E. team, student and community placements and local and charitable business sponsors.
The community partnership has set themselves the challenge of increasing the numbers of people and social groups using the building and help make it economically sustainable as the first step in their three year enterprise plan.
The Fr. McGrath Family Centre and the Parish Hall Committee have already raised and invested more than €25,000 over the past year to allow wider community activities happen in the former old school and Kilkenny’s last parish hall.
The old national school hall building on the Butts Green was given a new lease of life last year when the Fr. McGrath Centre successfully applied for a Community Social Programme grant to employ part time workers to develop a three year enterprise plan to halt the old hall’s decline and save it from the fate of all the other parish city halls which were acquired by private developers.
Appeal for Volunteers and Parish Support:
Chairperson of the Fr. McGrath Centre and member of the steering committee trying to rescue the old hall, Pat Brennan, said that their development plan would not succeed unless parish members, social groups and local business threw their weight behind this community effort to form an enterprise partnership and culture to drive its development over the next generation.
He said: ‘This building has served Kilkenny families well for well over a century and it can do so for generations to come if we can find a way to re-form those parish, social and commercial partnerships that were behind its former success.’
‘We believe that there is a real opportunity to create jobs and numerous important social services for children, young people families and our elderly if we can raise the funds to upgrade the hall over the life of this three year plan.’
In 2011 the committee will make major efforts to meet with potential business sponsors and parish social and charitable groups with long links to the parish to seek their support in raising up to €100,000 to carry out their plans for a major refurbishment of the hall.
‘We know that these are tough times to be looking for sponsors and raising funds but this building was built soon after the famine and we and it have survived much worst over its lifetime.
‘Through those hard times this building was the place generations came together to support each other through those times and with your help it will do so again for this generation.’
The Neighbourhood Centre is now open Monday to Friday from 11.00am for the community cafe to late in the evenings for social games and snooker and table tennis activities.
Men’s groups, dance clubs, craft courses and many other social events such as Tea dances for the elderly, ‘Wednesday is for Women’ evenings, mother and daughters and fathers and sons events now run weekly from the hall.
Visitors are welcome and groups seeking a community space to meet can call the Fr. McGrath Centre on 056 7751988.