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Press Release - KILCOOLE COMMUNITY CENTRE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

February 2015 was a proud and historic month for the village of Kilcoole, as the community centre officially opened its doors, with a ribbon cutting
ceremony that was attended by the Community Centre Committee, local clubs and organisations, and members of the general public, who all gathered to
see the new development being showcased and hear about what's in store for the future. "The whole project is owned by the people of Kilcoole and is for the people
of Kilcoole," Chairman of the Committee Centre Committee Cllr Tom Fortune told Wicklow Times. "That was the key objective when we began the project.
The whole thing has been and is a voluntary effort." Now, one year later, the Community Centre is in full use and is what it was
always intended to be; a vibrant hub and focal in the village, bringing people together and providing a home for the many local clubs and
organisations.


Originally a boys national school before Kilcoole National School was built, the existing parish centre was built in 1960, with half of the funding being
provided by local lady Sarah Fox. It was said at the time that should the building ever cease to be a school, it should be given to the community of
Kilcoole. Up to December of 2013 the building was in the ownership of St Laurence O'Toole Diocesan Trust. For a number of years the Community Centre
Committee, who had been managing the centre for the diocese, had been in discussion with the diocese regarding a possible handover to the community,
and this happened in late 2013. At the time, Cllr Fortune called it "a real win for the community of Kilcoole. The community will benefit for years to
come".


Cllr Fortune has praised the efforts of the local community in bringing the project to fruition, and the hard work and dedication of the committee which
consists of Lorraine O'Toole (Secretary), Collette Hunt (Treasurer), Mark Blake (Project Manager), Michael O'Brien (IT) and Jack Smith, who Cllr
Fortune has described as a "driving force" behind the project. The committee were approved funding for development of the centre under the
Wicklow County Council development contribution scheme 2003. The total sum granted was €200,000. Fundraising was also carried out at a local level,
with Druid's Glen Golf Club donating money from their Captain's Day towards the project, and speaking to Wicklow Times Cllr Fortune also acknowledged
the efforts of Fr. Liam Belton. "He's been extremely good to us", he said. The committee then received planning permission to carry out alterations and
extend the building. In addition, capital funding of €50,000 was announced in December 2013 for the development of a youth café, as part of the Youth
Café Scheme which is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. For this application, the committee received assistance from the VEC Bray
Youth Service and Kilcoole Youth Group. "We have youth group in the village who never had proper premises - they
were always having to move around from place to place," Cllr Fortune says. "So as part of the new community centre we included a place for youth
activities." Undoubtedly one of the most attractive features, the centre's Youth Café is a designated space for young people to hang out with their friends in a safe
and secure environment. It provides a place for young people to meet in a friendly, relaxed, comfortable surroundings, a place for young people from
all social and cultural backgrounds to engage in social interaction with their peers in a safe, environment, free of set rules. Activities are
coordinated by Linda white. Staffed by volunteers, the Youth Café provides a range of activities for young people catering for all levels of need. One of the greatest
achievements of the new Comminity Centre is that it has retained the old structure and design of the old school house. As well as the youth section, the facility includes three meeting rooms, tea
stations, IT Centre, a kitchen that can also double up as a meeting room, and toilet facilities (including a disabled toilet). The main meeting room
can hold over 100 people, and has been the venue of many meetings and public events over the last year. The two old school rooms have been tidied up, and
there is now a proper hallway and a reception area. Proper car parking has been facilitated on the grounds, and a gate allows better access to the
scouts den building. The building has also been re-roofed. Many local groups have enjoyed use of the community centre, from youth
groups and a young women's group to an AA Group, Dyslexia group, IT group, a local craft organization and various committees. It is truly a multi-purpose
centre that can also be used for children's parties and other events such as the Kilcoole Community Expo. It is truly a main nerve centre for the many
diverse activities for the people of Kilcoole.

The rates for booking the IT Centre, Meeting Room (old part) and Kitchen/meeting room are €12.50 per hour while the rate for the Main Room
(new part) is €20 per hour. To book, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone Mark Blake (087 929 0732), Collette Hunt (087 6833206), Mike O'Brien (087
2289534), Loraine O'Toole (087 9023064) or Cllr Tom Fortune (086 2488195).

Please call any of the above to make an enquiry or donation.

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