‘Welcome Rooms’ for all Fingal community

by Rose Barrett
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Last month, Fingal County Council launched a pilot initiative, opening three key centres for Fingal residents, offering warm and welcoming home-from-home rooms to visit.

At Rivervalley Community Centre, Parlickstown House and Corduff Community Resource Centre, anyone of any age can drop in, have a cuppa, sit down and chat with neighbours or make new friends.

All three centres are now up and running. MIcheal McDonagh is manager of Rivervalley Centre and says the “Welcome Room” pilot programme will continue running over the next three months. 

“It’s been a good success so far,#” he said. “The Welcome Room is a safe space for people to come and visit – a heated welcoming space, to meet with neighbours, have a cuppa, refreshments, chat with other people and not have to worry about the energy costs.”

The River Valley Centre is open from 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday, on a trial basis. 

“This is a pilot scheme,” noted Michael. “Times may vary in the other two centres, check with individual community centres, or drop in and ask.

“These are all local community centres, they are there to be used for and by the community. Fingal County Council are trying to give back ownership of these centres in terms of utilising them. 

“It’s a great concept, people can drop in and relax, meet other Fingal residents, maybe if they are new to an area, they get to know new people, or meet up with former neighbours or maybe even some old school friends. 

“There is ample for children to play with some lego, puzzles, toys, and a TV in the background,” added Michael.

“It’s open and available to all ages, seniors come in after mass for a cuppa, younger families after creche or school. Some come in for an hour or two, mothers make tea while kiddies play.

“With another cold snap expected, we feel people may want to use it more. There’s no charge, this is all about the community realising this is a community centre here to be used!”

Michael concluded: “As a manager here, I get to meet newer members of the community and I can engage with them and learn what facilities/activities they’d like to see in the new community centre to encourage more people in!”

The centre is located on River Valley road in Swords, contact 01 840 9018 for further details.

While the three centres have been the meeting point for many community-based groups over several years, this new living room initiative aka the Welcome Room will further serve the needs of the local community. 

“The Welcome Room concept will give visitors the opportunity for social interaction and a relaxing space to unwind, with food and drink available as well as books to read, board games to play and film sessions. Fingal will develop further activities as the initiative progresses,” said a spokesperson for Fingal County Council.

Robert Burns, Director of Community Development at FCC, says that whilst this is a pilot in Fingal, he can see the initiative being of immense interest elsewhere and hopes to see it replicated across other areas. 

Marie McKay, Chairperson of the local board of management of Parslickstown House said: “Parslickstown House takes pride in operating at the heart of the community. A Welcome Room will offer an inviting environment for people to come to, whether it’s for some company, a reassuring smile or just to find somewhere to relax in comfort for a while.”

Alongside this, Fingal’s 10 branch libraries continue to offer a warm welcome to all members of the public, along with free access to books, newspapers, wi-fi, e-services, PCs, study/work desks, etc.  See https://www.fingal.ie/fingallibraries and https://www.fingal.ie/fingal-libraries-spring-2023-brochure for all library events. 

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