A FORMER primary school in Glenmornan is being transformed into a community hub thanks to the local GAA club.
The St Joseph’s Primary School building which served the community for over 60 years was purchased recently by Owen Roe O’Neill’s GAC, itself part of the rural community for 51 years.
The building is now to get a new lease of life as a venue for services for the community.
The club is joining with the Glenmornan Community Association to offer community-based projects open to everyone.
A funding allocation of £10,000 from the Ørsted Community Benefit Fund will allow the group to carry out much needed repairs and upgrades to the building.
The area has suffered from a lack of community facilities and the closure of the rural school in 2019, meant that in recent years, even fewer facilities were available locally.
It is hoped that repairs to the old school building will encourage greater participation, engagement, and collaboration on a range of projects across the community such as youth programmes, health related support services and education and training.
Stephen Boyle, chairperson of Owen Roes explained: "The Ørsted Community Benefit Fund has had a significant impact in our aim to make the former school a hub for everyone in the local area.
"The school first opened in 1959 and we have been able to prevent it from going into private ownership and hope to have a thriving community hub here long into the future.
"We will continue to work with the Glenmornan Community Association to develop programmes that will improve the lives of local residents.
“It is funding like this that keeps local associations sustainable, able to grow and develop, meeting the needs of our growing community."
He added: "This funding will allow us to make much needed improvements to the centre which will in turn facilitate delivery of a wider range of initiatives that we know the local community need.
"We are keen to continue to develop the centre, creating even more opportunities for the area and our ongoing relationship with Ørsted is a key part of this commitment."
Owenreagh Wind Farms’ Community Benefit Fund has been supporting local community initiatives for the last four years and to date Owen Roes has availed of £40,000, enabling it to purchase the building and continue to improve a range of services vital to the local area and its residents.
As long-term owners, developers, and operators of renewable energy projects, Ørsted commits to becoming active partners in the communities in which they develop projects.
As the new owners of the existing Owenreagh Wind Farms, Ørsted has been working to develop strong ties and relationships locally and aims to continue making a positive impact by supporting more projects in the future.
Jean O’Donovan from Ørsted, speaking about the funding allocation said: "Ørsted is committed to providing financial support to worthwhile initiatives that benefit the local communities where we operate.
"We believe in providing tailored support that benefits the needs of the whole community, enhancing the local economy and building a social infrastructure.
“The pandemic has had a serious impact on many local communities, and we have seen first-hand how important these community benefit funds can be in ensuring long term viability of much needed community groups, particularly in rural areas.
"We were encouraged by the community spirit in the village, at the height of the pandemic and lockdowns, and were privileged to be able to play our part in providing financial support toward the delivery of food parcels to the most vulnerable and isolated members of the local community”.
Owen Roes continues to fundraise for the project.
If you wish to get involved or donate contact Owen Roe O’Neill Leckpatrick or Glenmornan Community Association on Facebook.
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