Community's dream of new centre is realised
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Jim Ledwith, SWARD; Barry Boyle, FRCN; Damien McManus, Secretary of KCHA, Helen McCormack, SWARD; Kevin Lunney, Chairman of KCHA and Lauri McCusker, Fermanagh Trust at the opening of the new hall in Kinawley.
A dream became a reality when Kinawley Community Centre, a long-awaited facility, was formally launched in the Fermanagh village of Kinawley.
The new build, a cross-community initiative, was officially opened on December 22, 2012, by the Most Rev. Leo O'Reilly, D.D Bishop of Kilmore and the Rev. Dr. Brendan McCarthy, Church of Ireland Priest in Charge for the Swanlinbar Kildallon Group of Churches.
The opening parade included the local primary schools of Kinawley, Killesher and Swanlinbar; Little Treasures Play Group; The local Scouting Group; Kinawley Gaelic Football Club; the local branch of Comhaltas; Kinawley Drama Group; Kinawley Apostolic Society; Fermanagh Lakers; and The Boxing Club. An active role in the proceedings was played by St. Naile's Roman Catholic and St. Paul's Church of Ireland Church leaders.
Damien McManus, secretary, Kinawley Community Hall Association (KCHA), mentioned that in 2008 the Association was formed to look seriously at the viability of a new centre - ultimately leading to the project's completion.
An initial donation of £13,760 from Quinn insurance as part of its Charity Pro-Am Golf tournament along with a donation of £5,500 collected at a Kinawley GAA Gala Ball got the ball rolling in 2009; this initial capital gave the group impetus and the necessary funds to prepare designs and make a planning application.
Subsequent support came from various sources, including: the South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) Rural Development programme who donated £248,000, Fermanagh District Council (£16,000), Big Lottery fund (£10,000), and Fermanagh Trust (£5,000).
In all just over £300,000 in funding was secured from central community project funders and affiliated organisations. St. Naile's parish in Kinawley also contributed £50,000, while the remainder has been raised through corporate donations, charitable events, a Founder Members' Club established for the project and a preferential loan from Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).
The new centre hosts a large sports and function area with stage (Cladagh Hall), separate community room (Benaughlin Suite) and associated amenities including kitchen and bar facility.
Kevin Lunney, who chairs KCHA, described it as "a long-awaited resource for this community". He thanked everyone involved in the Association and the community in Kinawley and surrounding areas for their generous support and encouragement. He also thanked Sean Quigley and everyone involved in the construction.
Officiating at the opening, Bishop O'Reilly said: "This is a truly inspirational project in an area that has suffered a lot over many years. I wish the project continued success and have a fervent desire that it be a focus for continued building of relations between all strands of the community here in Kinawley." Rev. McCarthy felt it was wonderful to see this new facility in place with the support of all sections of the community.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 28 Dec 12