A derelict house in the largest local authority estate in Co Galway has been transformed into a community facility.
Parkmore Community House in Tuam, which was officially launched by the Minister for Housing and Planning, Willie Penrose, recently, has been refurbished and will provide a base for local residents for community meetings, events and training. It will also operate as a centre for horticulture training and landscape planning for the estate.
The project is the result of collaboration between local community groups, Tuam RAPID and Galway County Council with additional support from the Department of Social Protection, Galway Rural Development, HSE Family Support Team, An Garda Síochána, FÁS, County Galway VEC and Treo Nua.
Speaking at the launch Teresa Kelly, the secretary of Parkmore Residents Association said this day was the culmination of more than 10 years work by local residents in association with community groups and support and funding agencies.
“All of us in Parkmore sstate have looked forward to this for many years- it is the culmination of many years of effort and it is fantastic to see it come to fruition.
“We will be able to support our local community here in Parkmore by bringing services to the community instead of people having to go into town to access a service,” added Ms Kelly who has been involved with the residents association since she first moved into the estate in 1984.
Prior to launching Parkmore Community House, Minister Penrose officiated at the launch of Tuam Community Allotments, also on the Parkmore estate.
This initiative is part of an ongoing programme of estate enhancement aimed at increasing community sustainability. Land owned by Galway County Council has been given over to the community to manage and let out to individuals, schools and community groups to meet a local “Grow your Own” challenge.
The aim of the allotment is to provide people with fresh vegetables at an affordable price and help cash strapped families to reduce the cost of food purchases while continuing to eat healthy foods.
The project follows on from the successful pilot of the Tuam Community Childcare Centre allotment programme earlier this year.
Speaking at the Launch, Martin Ward of the Western Traveller and Intercultural Development Association said that programme was “more than cost effective” and was great value for money.
“Crucially it has also meant that children attending the crèche have a much greater awareness of where food comes from and have benefited from having access to healthy and nutritious low cost food. We have also had some chickens on site which has helped the child care project in its attempts towards greater sufficiency through the supply of free range eggs.”
Although at the early stages there will eventually be 100 allotment spaces available in Parkmore to meet the needs of potential gardeners.
“In the next six months we will be making up to 30 allotment spaces available and we hope to increase that up to 100 over the course of the next couple of years,” he added.
The launch was attended by local dignitaries and officials including the Mayor of County Galway, Cllr Michael Maher, Eugene Cummins, the director of housing with Galway County Council, and Pat O’Hora, the chairperson of Tuam RAPID AIT.