Knocknagin Hall Committee
Knocknagin Hall Committee is a community organisation which operate from Knocknagin Hall just outside the village of Desertmartin in Co. L/Derry. The Committee identified the Rural Basic Services Scheme as an opportunity for improving their current premises to serve as a local learning and community hub for the surrounding area and an application for funding was submitted to their local LAG, Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership in April 2017.
Knocknagin Hall has been at the centre of the Desertmartin community for the last 63 years, hosting parish events, a youth club, sports clubs and stimulating the development of other groups in the area such as the Credit Union. However, having been built in the 1950s the Hall Committee realised that the facility was beginning to struggle to meet the needs of current day users and as such a project was embarked upon to restructure the internal layout and improve accessibility which would create a multi-purpose venue.
Knochnagin Hall Committee was awarded £111,587 to carry out a major renovations programme to provide additional meeting room on both the ground floor and first floor, disabled toilets, lift access and a new roof structure.
During the development of the project, the group carried out an extensive consultation exercise to identify gaps in services within the local community and used the feedback they received to plan a wide range of service delivery activities. Improvements to the internal layout will facilitate the delivery of these service activities focusing on community outreach, mental health and well-being and community training.
Gerard Walls, Director of Knocknagin Community Hall Committee confirmed that maximising the use of existing facilities in rural areas, like theirs, is really important for rural communities. The Rural Basic Services Scheme required them to look very closely at where the gaps in service provision lay, and this gave them a focus not only for identifying new services to meet current needs but also to identify what physical works they needed to carry out to the hall to best service user groups now and in the future. With the works now complete, Gerard added that ‘we’re delighted with the improvements made to our hall, as are the various local groups who use it. Working up the application and seeing the project through to completion was a lot of hard work but we received lots of help and guidance along the way from the LAG staff, for which we are extremely grateful’.