Greater Rathfriland Community Development Forum Ltd
Greater Rathfriland Community Development Forum Ltd is a community organisation which operates from a Church Hall in John Street, Rathfriland. Following public consultation and a feasibility study in 2017 the forum realised there was an opportunity to redevelop the Church Hall in a town that was struggling with social cohesion for new and innovative community use.
The Greater Rathfriland Community Development Forum Ltd was established in August 2015 to meet a growing demand for the social and economic development of the former Market town, and in particular the redevelopment of the former St John’s Church of Ireland, church hall as a community resource. The forum knew the facility was no longer meeting the needs of the community and by undergoing a massive transformation into a multi-purpose and vibrant Community Hub, they would be capable of delivering a wide range of services and activities for the Rathfriland community and surrounding areas.
Greater Rathfriland Community Development Forum Ltd was awarded £208,6536.50 through SOAR ABC’s Rural Basic Services Scheme. The project would deliver a brand new bespoke media room, sensory room and training suite as well as made upgrades to the kitchen and toilets. In addition, the exciting project also made improvements to the entrance and car park.
Breathing new life into the building, the extensive renovations will enable the delivery of a wide range of mulit-generational activities, from health and wellbeing to IT based initiatives as well as helping provide the space to accommodate a large number of community groups and organisations. The new community hub will enable people of ages to come together to meet, socialise, learn and much more, strengthening community bonds as well as helping combat social isolation.
Neil Magennis, Chair of the forum commented on how they had wished the forum had been established earlier as the hall was deemed not fit for purpose in 2012. There was a basic service provision and need within the town and they failed to act on it sooner. However, since the refurbishment Neil Magennis stated “the hall and works to the existing car park has provided a great recreational facility in a rural area, which will act as a focus for both physical and mental wellbeing. It is great to see the works are now complete on site after many months of planning.”