BY HELEN RIDDELL
A BEARA community centre which has supported the local community since 2011 faces closure unless the public comes to its financial aid.
Lehanmore Community Centre is facing a bleak financial future due to the number of festivals and events being cancelled as a result of Covid-19.
It needs an urgent cash injection of €13,000 by Christmas to keep its doors open.
Paul O’Shea, chair of the Lehanmore Community Cooperative who run the centre said: ‘Lehanmore Community Centre depends on events and festivals to raise money, along with our coffee shop and bar. When the country went into lockdown in March, all our events were cancelled and the shop and bar closed. We still had staff running the office, Pobal pay most of their wages, but we must pay a contribution to bring it to the minimum wage, plus there are overheads to pay in terms of heating, lighting and the bar licence even though the bar is closed. Between now and Christmas we need to come up with €13,000 if we are to stay open.’
Lehanmore Community Centre is Ireland’s most westerly community facility serving the communities of Lehanmore, Garnish, Cahermore and Allihies. Four workers staff the centre, and a voluntary committee from the local community oversee the running of the centre.
It has played a vital role in community life over the years says Paul, and now they’re asking the community for help.
‘We’ve supported a number of other organisations in terms of funding and help, but now we find we need a bit of assistance ourselves,’ he said.
Paul thanked Fianna Fail South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan TD who pledged them his support.
Speaking to The Southern Star Deputy O’Sullivan said: ‘This is a huge challenge that all community groups are facing right throughout West Cork. I have urged them to apply for the Stability Fund that is available to help community and voluntary groups to get through Covid-19 and I will be supporting their application in every way I can in order to get it over the line and keep brilliant community groups like Lehanmore afloat. They are an excellent group. We have attended meetings there over the years. It is a really proactive group that West Cork should be proud of and we need to keep these types of groups afloat.’