Saturday, November 27, 2021

Community Centre Forum hears appreciation, and thoughts for improvement

A Forum last evening representing different groups using the Kilcullen Community Centre heard appreciation for the facility as it is operated and also some ideas for further improvements, writes Brian Byrne.

The event, held in the Centre's Connolly Room, was organised by manager Enda O'Neill with the aim of encouraging all to work together to add more community value to the campus. It was also an opportunity for individual groups to suggest how their activities could be enhanced. "Say what you want and we’ll see how we can work to do it," Enda urged them after his initial words of welcome.

In addition to Community Centre Board members Ronan Murphy and Cathy Phelan, the organisations represented last evening were the Kilcullen Community Childcare and Education Centre, Kilcullen Community Action/Tidy Towns, Kilcullen Scouts, St Bridget's Pitch & Putt, Scoil Bhride, Cross and Passion College, Kilcullen Boxing Club, Kilcullen GAA and the Community Employment Scheme.

For the Childcare Centre, Carl Traynor noted that their group had been officially on the campus since 2014, and 'we were there in several guises before that'. He said access to the All Weather Pitch had been very useful for the children when playing outside, and that now they had almost completed their own all-weather facility behind their building. "We've had very good relationships with the Centre and we very much appreciate that." Enda O'Neill commented that an improved and safer pedestrian system from the KCCEC facility would soon link up with the new traffic management which had been set up around the main Centre building during the last year.

Chairperson of KCA Anne Cashman suggested it would be great to have a Men's Shed type of facility on the campus. From a biodiversity aspect, she said it would be nice to see more bedding sections around the Centre, and she also hoped that the soon-to-be-opened Coffee Hatch service would use sustainable materials and that there would be an appropriate number of bins around to deal with waste. She also took the opportunity to remind all the organisations represented to have their members do the public consultation survey currently in train for the development of a Kilcullen Design Statement.

For Scoil Bhride, Muiris Ó Raoghaill said the school considered themselves very lucky to have all the facilities of the Community Centre 'on our doorstep'. "We have around 700 pupils, and we use facilities like the All Weather Pitch a lot," he said. "They play GAA and other sports as well and we always appreciate the welcome we get." On matters of dealing with occasional instances of vermin attracted by the Pinkeen Stream, and on security for the children, he suggested there might be closer cooperation. Enda O'Neill said he would speak with the Centre's relevant contractors on these matters, and Carl Traynor of KCCEC added that they could adjust their CCTV cameras to take in more of the external area around their building.

The Principal of CPC, Joe Leonard, noted that with 835 pupils and not having their own PE facilities, the College is 'heavily dependent' on both outdoor and indoor facilities on the campus. "We are probably the main user of the Centre, and there has always been a great relationship between us." He noted particularly the support that will probably be needed for the performance of the next musical, as the school's own Assembly Hall has been turned into classroom space because of distancing needs due to the pandemic. "I can not foresee a time when we won't need the support of the Centre and we're really appreciative of it," he added.

As one of the oldest groups associated with the Centre, Christy Sweeney of St Bridget's Pitch and Putt noted that they had been there since 1987, and continued to grow. "Despite the pandemic, we have grown our membership even more in the last two years," he said, adding that the numbers of Juveniles playing had increased substantially. "We have one of the finest clubhouses in Ireland, and we recently got extra room to extend our museum. The Centre gives us great cooperation."

For Kilcullen GAA, Dan Bell said the facility is a 'credit to the town' and that many people may not appreciate how lucky they are having all these facilities in one place. "I've travelled all over the country and there's nothing like it anywhere else," he said. He suggested that there could be opportunities for further cooperation on lighting and security.

Representing the Community Employment Scheme for the local area, which is based in the Centre, Nessa Dunlea said the Scheme already provided for three staff at the facility, and the new Coffee Hatch will add more. She reminded those present that it's important to remember that 'we wouldn't be here' without the generosity of the Cross and Passion Sisters. "And don't forget also the people who have gone before in the management of the campus." Enda O'Neill noted that without the CES employees, 'this place wouldn't be functioning'. "We couldn't run this facility without them," he added, thanking the CES for making them available.

Bernie Orford for the Kilcullen Boxing Club said that while they didn't need to use any of the outdoor spaces on the campus, whenever they needed anything, the Centre always helps out. Michelle Hourihan, representing Kilcullen Scouts, spoke about the plans to build a permanent Scout Den behind the All Weather Pitch.

Concluding the meeting, Enda thanked all for coming and suggested that a twice-yearly Forum like this could be very beneficial, and 'sort out a lot of things'. On behalf of the Board, Ronan Murphy said they were anxious to have more representatives from the community on the Board.

Photographs use Policy — Privacy Policy