Demolition of old cabins to make way for £350,000 facility

A run-down community centre has been demolished to make way for a brand new state-of-the-art facility after a 40-year campaign by residents in rural Derry.

Members of the Lettershandoney Community & District Development Group (LCDDG) gathered on Monday morning to watch the demolition of the conjoined portable cabins.

LETTERSHANDONEY. . . Group pictured yesterday morning before the tumbling of the old Lettershandoney Community Centre. On digger is Sean Carlin and standing from left, Bridie Lynch, Vice Chair, Lettershandoney Community and District Development Group, Lisa Deans, Treasurer, Ellen Brolly, Chair and Thomas Doherty, Estate Warden. DER3714MC001

LETTERSHANDONEY. . . Group pictured yesterday morning before the tumbling of the old Lettershandoney Community Centre. On digger is Sean Carlin and standing from left, Bridie Lynch, Vice Chair, Lettershandoney Community and District Development Group, Lisa Deans, Treasurer, Ellen Brolly, Chair and Thomas Doherty, Estate Warden. DER3714MC001

The cabins were brought into the estate second-hand over 13 years ago after a funding bid for better facilities failed.

Construction work is now already under way on the £350,000 replacement, which is located immediately behind the demolished cabins.

Sean Carlin, LCDDG project co-ordinator said: “This new centre is setting a precedent in terms of council’s approach to rural Derry. It is also creating history in the sense that it is the first real facility that council will own.

“The partnership with council means we can sustain services in this area in terms of recreational and community for the next 50 years. It’s a large capital investment for this area as of Phase One, with the Phase Two coming in the next two years ,hopefully through the Rural Development Programme. We have big ambitions and we are looking to create a hub in rural Derry that will feed off the city but also provide sustained services for this area in the long-term.”

Committee members clapped and cheered as the demolition was completed.

Ellen Brolly, chairperson of the LCDDG said: “It’s just great The children are looking forward to it, they’re highly excited.”

Treasurer Lisa Deans added: “It’s going to mean we can run a lot more classes- instead of people having to go to different community centres to do different things they can stay here and do them.”

Vice-chairperson Bridie Lynch meanwhile said: “We talked about a new community centre over 40 years ago. We have been trying through different things, but it was only now at this stage here over the last four-five years that it was coming near and we are getting some place.”

A video of the demolition can be seen on www.derryjournal.com.