GARRYOWEN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT MOVING PREMISES
Were moving! We are moving from St. John’s Brass and Reed Band Hall to Unit 2A, Chapel Court, Cathedral Place (the back entrance to Gleeson’s Sports Store, straight across the street from The Horse and Hound pub).
All adult education, youth groups and Community groups (including Ladies Group and Seniors Group) will be moved to the new building. ABC Wrap Around and the Toddler and Parent groups will, however, remain at St. John’s Brass and Reed Band Hall.
The move is an enforced one. A letter explaining the reasons behind the move can be viewed below.
Threat to Services in Garryowen Community
To the Residents of Garryowen Community,
As some of you may be aware, for the past 5 years Garryowen Community Development Project have been searching for a permanent home, a centre of our own in Garryowen, from where we can consistently provide services to the community. Throughout this time we have engaged with Limerick City and County Council, local politicians, local councillors, architects, engineers and a range of other organisations and people to advance our case for a community centre in Garryowen. A number of potential sites emerged including Brannigans (aka The Pike Inn) and Markets Field. None have been approved or secured funding.
At all times our sole purpose has been to serve the community and, as such, we have worked to build both consensus and a feasible plan to develop fit for purpose premises. Despite this I am aware that at times this work has not always been clear to the community. Often it can seem as if conversations and plans are being conducted and made in private, keeping those we serve in the dark. We don’t only want to work in the community. We want to work for the community and with the community. To this end, I am writing to you now to outline clearly our current situation. This policy of open communication with the community will continue going forward and our doors will always be open.
As of December 2015 our lease on Garryowen Road with St John’s Brass and Reed Band expired. The Band have been incredible landlords over the past couple of years and helped us when we needed help most. They kindly gave us 3 months to find new premises and have committed to supporting our Parental Support Programmes into the future. However, the fact remains that for a second time in 2 years we find ourselves homeless. This continued uncertainty undermines our ability to gain the trust of the community in both the sustainability of our services and in a general sense.
Over the past number of weeks we have been working hard to find a short term solution in order to keep our doors open and services running. We have looked at a number of different options including prefabricated offices, converted residential units and commercial units. The only viable premises we found from that search are located in Chapel Court, Cathedral Place. We are acutely aware that the location of these premises is not ideal. Our preference has always been to find a home at the geographical centre of Garryowen. However, no vacant premises, fit for purpose, currently exist. Reluctantly we are faced with the decision of moving to Chapel Court or closing our doors and ceasing our services.
This solution is not a good one. Garryowen Community Development Project needs to be at the heart of Garryowen. Therefore, this move has to be a temporary one. It is vital that we continue to fight for a Community Centre in Garryowen. The reality is that we are no closer today than we were 5 years ago to winning this fight. If we are ever to be successful, I guarantee it will not be because of Garryowen CDP alone. We will never get the community centre Garryowen needs and deserves without your support.
I have heard from a number of residents that we, in Garryowen CDP, need to improve our communication with the community. Please view this letter as the first small step towards improving communications and creating a relationship where we are truly working together. We promise to speak openly and honestly with you, whether the news is good or bad. We will trust you to make up your own mind on the issues we face and create opportunities for you to voice those opinions. This relationship, however, will require work on your part too. When we create forums to get your thoughts we need you to take these opportunities to outline your concerns and ideas. At times we will also need you to advocate for Garryowen and for vulnerable people within the community. If we are to represent the residents of Garryowen, we must get to know the residents of Garryowen.
We will be moving to Chapel Court in the coming weeks and aim to be running services from the new premises by 11/04/16. Our long term plans are wholly dependent on the building of a fit for purpose community centre in Garryowen. Limerick City and County Council are committed to supporting us in this
endeavour but have made clear that we must, as a separate organisation, stand on our own two feet. Our ability to attract supporters and funders will hinge on the strength of community support and solidarity.
We will be hosting an open evening in the new premises on Wednesday the 27th April to discuss the community centre and other community issues. All residents of Garryowen are welcome to attend at 7pm.
In order to keep you up to date with progress and plans we need to know how to reach you. Please email the address below if you wish to become more involved with the community project. If email doesn’t suit, you can call us or simply drop into our offices. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Project Coordinator Garryowen CDP
Unit 2A, Chapel Court, Cathedral Place (Back entrance to Gleesons Sports)