The official re-opening of Drumcree Community Centre took place on Sunday after a £400,000 revamp.
The DSD, through the Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund, financed the extensive works, and the centre has been reformed.
Jerome Burns from the Department of Social Development (DSD) unveiled the plaque.
The community centre now incorporates a dedicated and fully equipped children’s room, a youth room, drop-in/social area and a computer room. The centre also has a large and well-equipped kitchen. The main hall, fitted out with sports flooring and under-floor heating, can be partitioned into two separate areas. As Sunday’s event demonstrated, the main hall is able to very comfortably cater for up to 140 people seated at tables. Drumcree Community Trust was founded almost 25 years ago and emerged from a number of local community initiatives in the area in the late 1980’s – the Community Education Project, the Faith and Justice Group, the Drumcree News and the old Cabin Club youth project.
Those involved in establishing Drumcree Community Trust in 1991 sought to address the high levels of social and economic disadvantage facing the local community at that time.
The fruits of those many years of work are visible throughout the area - through Drumcree Community Centre, through the Mayfair Business Centre, and through a local community health project - Drumcree House of Health. As a result of those inter-related developments, there are many people who have benefited directly and indirectly from Drumcree Community Trust’s work in the community over the years.
Michael Bingham, chairperson of Drumcree Community Trust, said, “Much of the progress made since 1991 could not have been achieved without the input from the many volunteers who, for almost a quarter of a century have freely assisted in implementing that vision of community self-help.”
Linda O’Neill, a staff worker in the community centre, said, “As a result of the refurbishment and extension works to the centre, we are able to cater for many more young people than in previous years, and the numbers attending our various projects have all increased.”
The redevelopment of the community centre was led by Drumcree Community Trust’s vice-chairperson, Breandán Mac Cionnaith who said, “Facilities range from mothers and toddlers groups, after-schools activities in the afternoons and youth activities in the evenings. There are also yoga classes for adults one morning and one evening each week, and a new dance and fitness group for adults commenced recently which is proving to be very popular.”
Portadown architect, Clive Henning and his colleague Ruth Foster, were responsible for the bright, airy and spacious community centre and contractors were Bell Contracts from Cookstown.