Old De La Salle building given new lease of life

Kildare town’s long-awaited community and family centre has just opened its doors to the public.

Kildare town’s long-awaited community and family centre has just opened its doors to the public.

Locals and members of community groups are invited down to Teach Dara on Thursday, May 31, for an open day to see its new meeting and counselling rooms, office spaces for hire, tranquility room, community gardens and coffee dock.

The project is housed in the former De La Salle Brothers’ home on Academy Street, which was built in 1884. The brothers donated the building to St Brigid’s Parish when they moved out of the town eight years ago.

The house, the outside of which is a protected structure, has been gutted and renovated thanks to LEADER project funding.

The idea for the community centre stemmed from a piece of research done in Kildare town, according to Carmel Terry, chairperson of Teach Dara.

It identified the need for a meeting place open to all within the town.

The reaction to the centre has been very positive since it opened six weeks ago.

“We have had interest from the chess club, parents and toddlers groups, people interested in using the training and meditation rooms,” she said.

The centre’s management, under co-ordinator Margaret Cleary, is working on a programme of activities to kick off this summer.

Funding has been secured to pay for the co-ordinator’s role for two years, and the centre is also home to several TUS workers, whose skills will be invaluable in keeping it going.

However, statutory body funding has been cut back in recent years, so fundraisers will be needed to keep the doors open.

The upper floor of the building has been dedicated to fully equipped office space, and it is hoped business tenants will provide a steady cashflow.

Rooms are available to rent from E10 per hour. It is hoped that Teach Dara will becomme a home for local community and activity groups.

For more information on the facility, contact 045 522128, and all are welcome to pop down on next Thursday’s open day for a look around the centre.