THE sod has been turned for Whiddy Island’s first community centre and it’s hoped it will be open by the end of next year.
The new centre, which will be the first ever community building on the island, will comprise a hall, a multi-purpose activity area and a kitchen.
The development will cost in the region of €340,000 and will be funded by Cork County Council, Leader grants, Zenith Energy and through borrowings of €70,000 taken out by Whiddy Island Development Association (WIDA).
The Association has advanced this project over the past number of years since a site for the building was first donated by Bantry Harbour Board in 2011.
Locally, in the region of €15,000 has been raised through community lottery fundraising and the association is now appealing to supporters to buy or sponsor a block for €100 to go towards the construction costs. Danny O’Leary of WIDA said they were delighted that the day had finally come after all the hard work of the community.
‘I want to thank all the people who have made this possible, especially the Bantry Bay Port Company, Leader and Cork County Council for their support,’ he said.
The Association received €244,000 in grant-aid towards the construction of the development from Leader and has been fund-raising hard to make up the difference.
‘We have had a huge amount of support from all the locals living on the island, as well as the visitors who come here every year,’ Danny said.
‘We hope the work will begin as soon as possible and all going well we should have the Whiddy Island community centre up and running by the end of the year.’
Speaking at the sod-turning ceremony, county mayor Cllr Pat Gerard Murphy (FF) said that our islands are unique and that more should be done to celebrate island life.
‘I look forward to returning when the building is complete,’ he said.