For 23 years, a grey pre-fabricated hut with hill top views looking over the River Foyle has served as an adequate centre for the community in Greysteel.
People of all ages, from children to elderly pensioners, go through the doors and, on any given day or night, there are meals being cooked, jigs and reels being danced and Yoga poses being struck.
The structure might look alright, but Raymond O’Hara believes a new building is needed urgently.
“The community of Greysteel deserve a new centre,” says the office administrator with Greysteel Community Association. “The centre is the hub of the community; it’s where people socialise, where meetings are held, where people come for advice clinics, and where people have birthday parties. It’s a lifeline for people in Greysteel.”
Nestled in the middle of a housing estate, next to a local playgroup, Raymond says the current centre isn’t big enough to cater for the demand in services.
“We run a luncheon club and the kitchen in the Centre is too small. It should be at least twice the size. We have toilets that cater for people with disabilities, but they need updating. In fact, there are a lot of things that need to be updated after almost 24 years.
“The roof started to leak, and you can feel the floor going in parts, and we had an incident where a bird got in the roof space. It couldn’t get out and died and rotted there, and the maggots dropped through the light fixture. We had to close for two weeks to get the place fumigated. I’ll stress that was a one-off and the staff that clean the centre do a sterling job. They keep the place immaculate, and we couldn’t ask for more. They work so hard, and everyone who comes in always comment about how well the place looks, but the building is well past its shelf life. People in Greysteel depend on what we offer here, because if they didn’t have it they would have to go into Derry or Limavady.”
Sinn Fein councillor, Dermot Nicholl has been working with the Community Association on the issue.
“£250,000 had been set aside in the former Limavady Borough Council for this project and I’d like to think a new community centre will go head and a new centre building will be delivered. There is, without a doubt, a need in the community for it. It’s long overdue.”
Causeway Coast and Glens Council said “officers are currently completing an outline business case to establish need as part of Council’s capital project 4 stage process.”