FURTHER meetings have taken place in the last fortnight with regards to a community hub in Moneydarragh.
And chairperson of Moneydarragh Community Hub, Margaret Rogers has expressed her thanks to all local councillors for their “wholehearted support”.
The committee has many ideas for potential facilities for the hub including a Men’s Shed group, reading room, crèche and adult learning.
The committee’s focus for the hub will be on enriching lives, decreasing isolation and building links serving as an additional community resource breathing new life into the now vacant school building.
Ms Rogers, a former principal of Moneydarragh PS, explained that during the amalgamation of the three Lower Mourne primary schools the idea of a community hub for the Moneydarragh school building was raised at various meetings.
There was a general understanding among the community that they would like to turn the school which served the community for 200 years into a hub.
A group was formed at the end of June and the committee was officially formed not long after.
It was unanimously decided that a meeting was required with the diocese of Down and Connor regarding the imminent sale of the building, which Ms Rogers admitted came as a “shock” to the members.
The committee was given assurances by the diocese that they would delay the sale and that “favourable terms” would be considered.
In addition, support from DEA co-ordinator Kathleen Magee was given who signposted them in the direction of acquiring funding for the building.
With regards to the latest two meetings Ms Rogers commented: “We have submitted our financial proposal to the St Macnissi’s Educational Trust who own the building under the Diocese of Down and Connor and are currently awaiting their response.
“On Monday, 23 July we held our meeting with elected representatives which proved constructive and each one of them has given their wholehearted support to our project.
“They signposted us to various community support bodies to help us effectively develop our project across the whole community. They believe that the hub would be very valuable in County Down.”
Mournes Councillor Brian Quinn (SDLP) was in attendance at both meetings and said it is “great to see the historic building hopefully getting a new lease of life”.
“The group were given advice from councillors to go down the route of a community consultation and I would like to wish them all the best with the project.”
The group also met with the County Down Rural Community Network last Monday (30 July) and have drawn up a Community Consultation questionnaire to gauge the need for cross-community facilities in the area.
This is available from the Post Office or Barbican in Annalong or through the Facebook page moneydarraghcommunityhub, Twitter @moneydarragh, email firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/moneydarragh