A historic community hall in Crosspatrick, Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny, has undergone extensive renovations, transforming it into a vibrant hub of activity for residents of all ages. Thanks to the support and advice of Community Finance Ireland (CFI), the Crosspatrick Community Group successfully revitalized the hall with a term and bridging loan in social finance, enabling the facility to offer a wide range of activities, from table tennis and spin classes to bridge tournaments.
Originally constructed in 1810 as a church, the building later served as a school for the local rural community before being repurposed as a community hall in 1950. Over the years, it has become a central gathering place for residents, hosting various events, including school activities, coffee mornings, card nights, and exercise classes. The hall’s renovation project, initiated in 2020, addressed the building’s deteriorating condition, upgrading essential elements such as windows, toilets, and the kitchen to ensure accessibility and compliance with modern standards.
Thomas O’Connell, the Secretary of the Crosspatrick Community Group, highlighted the hall’s significance, stating,
“People would never get together if it wasn’t for the hall. For as long as I can remember, it has been at the heart of this local community.” The renovations have already had a positive impact, fostering a sense of community and providing a space where laughter and connection can thrive. In addition to its current offerings, the Crosspatrick Community Group aims to establish a business hub within the hall later this year.”
Barry Symes, Head of Community Finance Ireland ROI, visited the renovated hall to commend Thomas and the Crosspatrick Community Group on their successful project. He emphasized the collaborative effort that made the renovations possible, stating:
“The renovations undertaken here are a fantastic testament to the people power of volunteers from the Crosspatrick Community Group, who have seen this project through from the outset.” Symes also acknowledged the community’s dedicated fundraising efforts and the financial support received from Community Finance Ireland, a Leader grant for Rural Development, and a community grant from the Bord na Mona Powergen Bruckana Windfarm.“
Community Finance Ireland has been instrumental in supporting community and voluntary organizations in Kilkenny, approving a total of €2.28 million in social finance loans since 2016. The organization takes a flexible approach to funding, bridging gaps and providing loans to meet the diverse needs of community groups.
Thomas expressed his gratitude for the support received from Community Finance Ireland, stating,
“”Our experience with Community Finance Ireland was really fantastic. Barry helped us with advice on our Leader grant application as well as the bridging loan to get the project off the ground. That support is the reason we’re here today.“
The Crosspatrick community hall’s transformation stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact of social finance in empowering local communities.
Community Finance Ireland continues to deliver social finance solutions that support various community initiatives, sports projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises. As part of the UCIT Group, Community Finance Ireland is the most progressive social finance provider on the island of Ireland.