New Space & Place funded Scraghey Community Centre opens its doors
The new £350,000 Space & Place funded Scraghey Community Centre has officially opened its doors providing a much-needed facility for people living in the area.
With a grant from the Big Lottery funded Space & Place Programme, the project saw the complete transformation of the 1950’s built St Davog’s Primary School which had closed its doors in 2012 leaving the community without a focal meeting place.
It is intended that the new community hub will encourage cross community engagement and will help to reinvigorate the area increasing access to educational and social opportunities for what has been an isolated community. It will also provide a range of programmes and activities such as social dances, music sessions, sport, venue hire, birthday parties, keep fit and dance classes that are accessible to all sections of the community.
Scraghey and District Community Association, the group behind the project, hope that this will all contribute to providing opportunities to enhance health and well-being, education, and skills training in the wider Castlederg area. The newly reconstructed building has a community hall, a cosy space complete with stove, state of the art kitchen and a small meeting room ideal for training and small meetings.
The Space & Place Programme managed by a consortium headed up by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, is a £15 million, five-year capital grants project that seeks to provide an opportunity for local communities to come together to identify a shared vision for their area and work to deliver it.
Speaking at the launch, Brenda Hegarty of the Scraghey and District Community Association said: “This project has great significance for the local community. The school closing in 2012 was devastating as it was much more than just an educational facility; it was the heart of the community. The transformation of the school into this new community facility will ensure that the identity of the area is protected, and the new facilities for use by all will provide opportunity for education and learning, connecting local people for many years to come.”
Michael Hughes Space & Place Co-Ordinator, said: “The Space & Place Consortium is delighted to see Scraghey Community Centre open its doors. There is no doubt this new facility will contribute towards reinvigorating the Scraghey area as well as enhancing the physical and mental well-being of people living in the community.
“Given that this new facility is a new shared space in the Castlederg area, the project fits perfectly with the ethos of the Space & Place programme which is to help communities transform underused or neglected spaces, in turn helping to tackle issues such as social isolation. We wish the community every success with their new facility.”
Joanne McDowell, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Director said: “We are delighted to see how Scraghey and District Community Association have worked with local people to develop this community facility. We believe this project will make a real difference to the lives of many local people by providing a space for them to come together and improve the area that they live in.”