Spraoi agus Spórt Co-Founder & CEO Helen Nolan has welcomed a grant of €8.2m from the Rural Regeneration & Development Fund (RRDF) 2021 together with €1.3m in match funding from Donegal County Council for the Tús Nua regeneration project which will revitalise Carndonagh and act as catalyst for change both economically and socially following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tús Nua is a partnership between Donegal County Council and the multi-award-winning Carndonagh Social Enterprise Spraoi agus Spórt which aims to bring people of all generations back into the town centre for community services, education, recreation, housing, enterprise and jobs.
The project proposes the alteration of the former Leprechaun Bar in Carndonagh to create a new through access and public amenities including a Changing Places toilet facility together with the planned restoration of the former McDonagh Bros. Shop Building and site to provide for a new Digital Fabrication Laboratory, co-working space and office space. A youth space for teenagers, community kitchen, shed and sensory garden will also be provided.
It is also proposed that a stone building previously a textile factory in the town will be rejuvenated to establish a Creative Makers Hub to allow lnishowen craft workers to carry out their trades.
Co-Founder & CEO of Spraoi agus Spórt Helen Nolan said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received this funding for the Tús Nua project which will help to revitalise Carndonagh and act as a key economic driver in the recovery of the town following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This really is a dream come true for the entire Spraoi agus Spórt team – board, staff, volunteers and service users! We have worked so hard over the last 10 years to play our part in the regeneration of our town, to enhance the level of services available locally for children, young people and the wider community and we look forward to having our vision realised. These plans will be a real game-changer for the town centre and most importantly will create much-needed employment and inclusive opportunities for the future.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD, Joe McHugh TD, the Inishowen elected members, and Donegal County Council who have supported Spraoi agus Spórt not just throughout the Tús Nua process but in everything we do.
“We would also like to say a special ‘Thank You’ to Inishowen Development Partnership, Carndonagh Traders Association, Foróige Carndonagh, and all of the community groups, businesses and individuals in the town who have supported our ambitious plans from the outset, it was this whole community collaboration that ensured this project got funded.”
Chairperson of Spraoi agus Spórt Patricia Lee added: “It is great news to have received this substantial funding for our exciting new project in partnership with Donegal County Council. It will help to create so many opportunities for local people and we look forward to opening in the Autumn of 2023.
“Our new Digital & Creative Hub will not only provide a wonderful space for young people to learn the necessary 21st century skills needed in the future in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) but also help so many people of all ages and abilities to play, create and learn through innovation and invention!
“Our new hub will also provide a fantastic stimulus for local entrepreneurship as an accelerator for business start-ups, which will add to the wider regeneration and economic development of Carndonagh and the surrounding areas.”
“Our Rural Future is bright; we are beyond delighted” concluded Helen Nolan.