Hartstown Community Centre update

by Rose Barrett
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Following a meeting with the board of management of Hartstown Community Centre and several local elected representatives on 10th May, the board of management outlined the stark options open to them at present as a voluntary board.

The board of management has been running the centre on a voluntary basis for three years. They currently have four part time TUS workers who are being supervised by Darren who is working more than sixty hours per week on a voluntary basis. This was never intended to be a long-term arrangement and is unsustainable for Darren who is currently overseeing the day-to-day management of the centre.

Should the centre fail to get funding in the short term they may have to close their doors to the many various groups and activities that rely on the centre. These include preschool groups, after school groups, reki, karate and many more. More than one thousand families rely on the centre weekly. The board of management have worked tirelessly to overcome many challenges over the past three years however have hit an impasse now due to the lack of funding for a centre manager which threatens the centre’s ability to remain open.

The board with the agreement of the attending local representatives sought an urgent meeting with Fingal County Council to explore all options. Robert Burns, director of housing and community development at Fingal County Council attended this meeting on 17th May with the board and various local councillors and Paul Donnelly TD

Fingal County Council and Dublin Diocese are in negotiations presently which if successful will see Fingal County Council taking ownership of the community centre on behalf of the community. Robert outlined the timeframe envisaged in the negotiations and informed the group that the survey of the building undertaken by the diocese is due to be finalised in the next few weeks. Fingal have also appointed a community officer to the centre to assist with practical support.  The sourcing of additional staff through different community programmes is also going to be organised.

The board of management, elected representatives and Robert Burns have agreed to meet in a month or so to discuss the progress made.

PHOTO – Cllr Angela Donnelly (SF) with Hartstown Centre BOM members, Orla and Lorraine with Deputy Paul Donnelly (SF)

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