THIRTY years after it first opened its doors a new chapter has begun for Strabane Community Project thanks to the opening of a new meeting space and garden for locals to enjoy.
Officially opened in recent days the initiative received £317,000 funding from the Big Lottery’s Space and Place programme.
Based on Barrack Street, Strabane Community Project provides a whole host of vital services such as meals on wheels, a luncheon club, a good morning service, a handyman service, a food bank, fuel stamp scheme and a breakfast club.
Local parish priest and chairperson of Strabane Community Project Fr Declan Boland, kicked off the opening celebrations by welcoming everyone to the event and giving a brief overview of the history of the organisation.
“Strabane Community Project was set up in 1987 by a group of local volunteers, Sisters from the Covent of Mercy and members of our parish,” he said.
“The aim of the project remains today what it was back then – to provide local people, mainly the elderly, a place to meet up have dinner and to lessen their isolation and loneliness. Thirty years on we are still providing that service to the people of Strabane and further afield.
“This is a momentous day as we come together to officially open our fabulous new house which will act as a community hub, along with the adjoining allotments and memorial garden,” Fr Boland continued.
“We have scaled Mount Everest, and we thank God for bringing this momentous occasion upon us.”
Also speaking at the event was Strabane Community Project manager Danny O’Hagan who was described as the heart of the project.
“This funding will bring great benefits to Strabane Community Project as an organisation and more importantly to Strabane town and the wider community,” he explained.
“The hub has created a permanent meeting space for members of the community, and the garden will provide a space for local people and primary school children to grow their own flowers, fruit and vegetables.
“The Space and Place Programme was designed to connect people and communities by utilising unused space,” continued Mr O’Hagan.
“As an organisation, we will move forward with great confidence that we will deliver and that will lead to great change in the Strabane area, enabling us to continue to grow and provide vital services to support the people within our community.”