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President Mcalesse opens community networking centre in Enniskillen

Published on:  23 Oct 2007

President McAleese, today, (Tuesday 23rd October) officially opened a new £1.3m centre for community development in Fermanagh.

Situated in Broadmeadow, Enniskillen, Fermanagh House, which has been developed by Fermanagh Trust, will be used as a base for the charity’s work. The remainder of the office space has been let to other community based organisations with the aim of providing a central place to meet, interact and plan collaborative projects with the Trust. 

The project has been funded by the International Fund for Ireland which donated £300,000 to the scheme, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister £150,000, the EU Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme £151,000 (through the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council), Fermanagh Local Strategy Partnership, £40,000, the Department of Foreign Affairs £33,000 and a loan of £50,000 from Ulster Garden Villages. Fermanagh Trust itself put £340,000 towards the project. Fermanagh District Council leased the site valued at £225,000. 

Fermanagh Trust, which was established in 1995, is dedicated to creating a partnership of donors, non-profit making organisations and the community, to find solutions to pressing community needs in Fermanagh and its border counties. The Trust delivers various programmes designed to bring about reconciliation and community involvement with the ultimate aim of bringing lasting peace and prosperity to the area.

Anne Henderson, Board member of the International Fund for Ireland, said that the project was a wonderful example of how a community development facility can make a difference to all the people who live in its surrounding area.

She said: “Although only open for business since April 2007 Fermanagh House has quickly established itself as the hub of community life in Fermanagh no matter what people’s age or religious background.”

“The Fund provides financial assistance to support its strategy which is focused on community relations and reconciliation. This project is a perfect example of that. From offering mentoring programmes, a range of networking initiatives, to providing a variety of training programmes, the centre has become a linchpin for capacity and confidence building between the communities it serves.”

Councillor Alex Baird, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, said: “Fermanagh District Council is delighted to be associated with the Fermanagh House project. The community and voluntary sectors play an important role in our community. The Fermanagh House project will assist the community and voluntary sectors by providing modern facilities in a central location to support the important work that they do. On behalf of the Council I wish to congratulate Fermanagh Trust and all of the funders for bringing this marvellous project to fruition.”

Stephen Huggett, Board member of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council added,” This project demonstrates how town and country can support and work with each other and how integration across a range of agencies can deliver real benefits for local communities.”

Speaking on behalf of Fermanagh Trust, its Chairman, Joanna McVey, said: “Fermanagh Trust is a resource™ for the entire community. The building is home to nine charities and is utilized by many other groups and organisations. It really is a fantastic facility and we are delighted with the positive feedback we have received from so many people.”

Lauri McCusker, Director of Fermanagh Trust also commented: ‘The need for this project was identified back in 1995, we want to thank everyone for their support, Fermanagh District Council, all of the funders and the organisations and agencies who have made this project such a success’.

Drew Haire, speaking on behalf of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, said that ‘The Department has been pleased to invest in this project which we anticipate making a significant and sustained impact on peoples lives in Fermanagh.  Our vision is for a future based on tolerance, equality, mutual respect and respect for the rule of law and these values are evident in the work of the Trust.”

Bringing projects from concept to quite literally bricks and mortar requires huge dedication by people motivated by a public service ethic.  I want to pay tribute today to all the people of Fermanagh whose vision has been realised today.

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