Big plans for village’s hall

A SUBSTANTIAL six-figure sum will hopefully be spent soon upgrading Eglinton Community Hall which will double it’s size and provide dedicated space for the young people of the village.

It is hoped that the hall is in line for a grant of as much as £245,000 from the Sports Council, and other funding applications

According to community worker Deborah Caulfield, the number of groups and people now wanting to use the hall means the facility is no longer able to cope with the demands being placed on it.

The hall as it currently stands, built after the demolition of the original community facility - a bungalow gifted to the community by local businessman Patrick McGinnis - was finished in 2003 with a £80,000 grant through the Mill Hall Project and £67,000 from Derry City Council, backed with a grant from Lloyd’s TSB for the internal fittings. As part of that project a small hall measuring 11 meters by 11 meters was put on, as well as an office, two changing rooms a disabled toilet.

The store room, which was used to house the boxing ring, was added later.

“The hall is too small for the numbers of activities we would like to run. We are full to capacity every evening with every room used for activities, so we have absolutely no new bookings. This place is booked out from 4pm to 10pm every day, and while that is great it is also frustrating.

People area approaching me all the time to see if there is space free for meetings or for birthday parties,” she said.

Ms Caulfield said that plans for the community centre include a purpose-built kitchen and art space, another hall and creating a space that will allow for activities such as badminton, which need a high ceiling. The current store area will also become an exclusive space for the young people.

“There are a lot of young people using what is essential the store room, so we hope to put in facilities which will also allow them to play table tennis and pool, and give them a dedicate space that they can use between lunchtimes and the early evening.

“If we are successful with our current bid for funding we will get up to £245,000, and we are currently following the very strict programme set out by the Sports Council, we are progressing through that process and we are very hopeful. In the meantime we are still awaiting the outcome of the City of Culture grant, which if we receive that, too, when both bids are combined it will mean we can put together a much-needed value for money project with double the usage space, disabled access points throughout as well as a dedicated toilet and shower facility, a new kitchen and art room,” said Ms Caulfield, adding: “I am hoping that we will be able to do some of the things we used to be able to do when we worked out of the bungalow, which had a larger kitchen. We would love to be able to offer cuisine nights, international food events as well as cater for events and parties. The upgrading of the community hall would give us a multi-purpose facility that will meet all our needs in Eglinton coming up to the City of Culture in 2013.”

Related topics: