The Waterside Area Partnership is looking into the possibility of setting up a cultural hub for the Waterside at Ebrington Square.
The Partnership has already submitted an expression of interest to Ilex who are looking at possible options for the site over the next five years.
“This is a new concept and market for our Partnership,” said chairman, Brian Dougherty “but also represents a sustainable opportunity for the group to expand into the social economy sector.”
The Partnership has already set up a cultural forum with the aim of exploring a model for delivering a workable cultural offer for residents and young people from the Waterside, at the heart of which was effective partnership working and joint planning between the culture and education sectors.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure 2013 Legacy Fund has indicated the potential to develop cultural hubs across the city, including one in the Waterside.
A draft plan has already been drawn up by the Forum. The vision of the forum states: “Our vision is to put the Waterside area of Derry, Londonderry on the map as a new and vibrant culture hub by creating and educational and cultural quarter within the Ebrington site.”
The Forum is a cross community grouping and as well as community representatives includes businessmen and representatives of the loyal orders.
“It would be impossible to achieve our aims operating from our present offices at Clooney Terrace”, said Mr.Dougherty. “The Clooney Terrace office has helped many groups in the Waterside since we were set up but we don’t have anywhere to show tourists particularly those using the peace bridge and Ebrington Square what the Waterside has to offer.
“It would be ideal to have such a facility at Ebrington Square,” he said.
The draft plan drawn up by Brian O’Neill, of Enterprise North West estimates that the hub could cost almost £300,000 to run over a three year period.
“Initial meetings with the Partnership have been used to explore potential business ideas that could enhance the product offering at the Ebrington site and a cultural hub with potential additional arts, cultural and tourism offerings has been identified as an idea to explore and develop further,” said Mr. O’Neill.