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Building for employment in Dunmanway

June 8th, 2016 7:25 AM

By Southern Star Team

At the recent launch of the ‘Brick for Brookpark' fundraising initiative were Orela Kingston, Padraig McCarthy, Louise O'Leary, Peter Walley, John Collins and Daniel Lehane. (Photo: George Maguire)

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THE call has gone out, not only across West Cork and Ireland, but to the diaspora scattered across the globe – and the message is this: They’re building for jobs in Dunmanway and they need you to buy a brick!

The local community, along with Enterprise Ireland and Cork County Council are behind the planned Brookpark Enterprise Community Centre, which when completed next October, is expected to create up to 50 jobs.

The complex boasts three large start-up production units and an enterprise centre with purpose-built conference, board and meeting rooms. All are equipped with the most up-to-date technology, as well as ‘hot desks’ and other support facilities for local entrepreneurs in the area of food production, manufacture or other services.

A €1m construction project began on the state-of-the-art campus at the Clonakilty road site last October, which is set for completion this coming October.

‘This is a catalyst for Dunmanway. We cannot wait for outside investment; we need to do it ourselves, and this is a community taking on an initiative and making it run,’ said local independent councillor Declan Hurley.

The project is supported by grant aid of €400,000 from Enterprise Ireland and €355,000 from Cork County Council. The site was transferred to Brookpark free of charge along with local funding of €50,000 to date and a further €35,000 later, as well as €100,000 approved by Clan Credo, a community funding group. 

‘The idea is to bring to fruition plans by Cork County Council and Enterprise Ireland for the establishment of  enterprise units,’ explained Peter Walsh, chairman of Brookpark Enterprise Centre Ltd, the driving force behind the project in the form of a strong local committee. Directors are Padraig McCarthy, John Collins, Paul di Rollo, Orla Kingston, Andrew Healy, Dan Lehane and Peter Walley.

Mr Walsh said that research showed a strong need in the area for the provision of custom-built, small own-door start-up units to get enterprises off the ground. The enterprise building itself will provide office space and hot desks for up-and-coming businesses in the Dunmanway area. It is also hoped to provide training facilities: ‘Dunmanway is such a central location that we would hope to be able to provide training courses that would otherwise be only available in Cork city.’

So with all of that coming down the line, what the initiative needs now, explains Mr Walsh, is solid, individual support from as little as €20 upwards from locals and also from Dunmanway natives now scattered throughout Ireland and across the globe.

People wishing to get on board can ‘Buy a Brick for Brookpark’, either from a wide range of local outlets or online at www.brookparkenterprise.ie and by complying with the organisers’ motto of ‘Start Spreading The News!’

‘Dunmanway has suffered severe job losses over the years and this initiative is designed to reverse that trend in the area and create opportunities for start-ups to grow,’ Mr Walsh said.

‘We’d like to see people who are now living abroad who are originally from Dunmanway being encouraged to give a helping hand to the initiative by buying a brick online. 

We have been talking to a number of food start-ups and we have a waiting-list of prospective tenants who will pay a nominal rent to Brookpark Enterprise Centre Ltd.’ he said. 

‘If this project goes well, down the track there will be opportunities for further development. We hope this is the spark to create opportunities for Dunmanway, particularly through the Enterprise Centre which will bring government and state agencies into Dunmanway on a regular basis,’ he said,  adding that ‘the Brick for Brookpark drive enables everyone to literally have a “brick” or a part in the building.’

‘This is about supporting the business ideas of local entrepreneurs,’ Cllr Hurley declared. ‘It’s about being able to find up-to-date facilities locally,’ he said, adding that Dunmanway’s growing reputation for food production is ‘something we are hoping to build on.’

‘People who have taken that leap of faith to start a business can find the support to grow it. Communities really have to fend for themselves, and Dunmanway is an example of a community which is doing just that,’ he said, adding that he would urge both members of the local community, and those who have emigrated abroad, to recognise the potential of the project and row in behind it.

Each Brookpark ‘brick’ entitles the buyer to a ticket in a special draw which will take place on July 2nd in The Southern Bar, Dunmanway and offers prizes ranging from a weekend in New York, to an American-style fridge, a top-of-the-range outdoor barbecue and a two-night stay in the popular Celtic Ross Hotel.

For more information visit www.brookparkenterprise.ie

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