In this week’s LEADER Spotlight, we look at how ILDN member Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, and Clann Credo – Community Loan Finance were at hand to support a County Kilkenny Community Development Group transform a Community Hall into a vibrant local hub.
Stoneyford Development Association was first established in 1970 and Stoneyford Community Centre was built in 1986 on a Council Field. The original hall consisted solely of a concert hall, a small kitchen and two toilets. The hall has been used by a significant variety of organisations including Indoor soccer teams, badminton groups, an Active Retirement Group, the Bingo, a Mother and Toddler Group, a Young at Heart group, a Drama Group and the Foroige Youth Club. Capacity had become an issue which needed addressing. This is where the Stoneyford Development Association stepped up and with the assistance of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership & Clann Credo embarked on a project which would benefit the Community for generations to come.
Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) is a non-profit, independent, community-led, local development organisation, with almost 25 years of experience delivering to communities on the ground, providing a wide range of services including training, work placements, grants and advice. KLP traces its origins back to its securing of the LEADER programme for the county in 1991 and the Social Inclusion programme in 1995. It is led by a voluntary Board of Directors from community and voluntary groups, social partners, local government and state bodies.
In the 2009 – 2013 LEADER period CLP funded approximately 300 separate projects of all sizes in the county- distributing in excess of €11 million in grant aid. In the social inclusion and community development sector, KLP is also the driver for some of Kilkenny’s most innovative and dynamic projects and initiatives including: Trail Kilkenny, KickStart, Driving Ambitions, Vulcan Wood Energy Cooperative and many more.
The main Objective of the Stoneyford Development Association is to coordinate all community groups and identify needs within these groups and individuals in the community. Since the selection of a new Committee in 2006 the group have overseen significant change and development in the Community much to the approval of locals.
In 2011 the Community Association undertook a substantial extension of the hall.
The two-storey extension now includes:
- a meeting room (which can double up as a dressing room for the theatre group),
- a small office,
- a new kitchen,
- Wheelchair accessible toilets,
- storage space for bowling equipment and sports equipment
- reception area.
- sizeable multipurpose room
- a small office
- a viewing area overseeing the large existing hall
- A viewing area over the community field
The new community centre is the hub of the community and Stoneyford has become a very vibrant community as a result of the development. Commenting on the development, Stoneyford Development Association Chair, Joseph Whyte said; “The refurbished community centre is the hub of the community and Stoneyford has benefitted greatly because of the development. Clann Credo’s support both during the construction phase and in the years since has been invaluable – this project could not have happened without them”
Irish Local Development Network represents Irelands 49 Local Development Companies (LDCs) including 35 members who deliver the LEADER Programme nationwide. Since its launch in 1991, the LEADER programme has helped rural communities across the European Union to actively engage and to direct the local development of their area, through community-led local development.