Fears for St Mary’s community centre

Creggan Community Centre
Creggan Community Centre

St Mary’s Community Centre in Creggan could close because of a lack of funding, a local councillor has warned.

Sinn Féin councillor Colly Kelly was speaking after being contacted by a number of groups who use the centre on Fanad Drive.

The community centre is run by St Mary’s Parish and used as a base by a number of Creggan community groups.

Colr. Kelly said he is seeking an urgent meeting with the administrator of the parish to discuss the future of the community centre.

“I have been contacted by a number of service users who use the community centre as part of the snooker club and they have said they were told the centre is to be closed because of the cost to the parish.

“They have said it costs £45,000 a year to keep the centre open and that it is too much of a drain on parish resources,” he said.

“I fully understand that in these times of financial uncertainty that many groups and organisations are feeling the pressure but this is an important community facility with a long history in the Creggan area and it would be very concerning if it was to shut its doors.

“For many years the centre has provided an important community facility in the area and it continues to be used by residents of all ages.

“The youth club use the building for some of its activities and pensioners use it for the knitting club, snooker club, and a range of other activities. It provides a valuable service for the wider community in the Creggan area.

“I will be meeting with Fr Canning, the administrator of St Mary’s, as soon as possible to discuss the future of the centre to see if it can be kept open for use by the local community,” colr. Kelly said. The Sinn Féin colr. said if the community centre is forced to close he will lobby for the building to be made available for use by local residents.

“If it does close then we will be making every effort to ensure that whatever the site is used for in the future addresses the need for community facilities in the area and is made available to the public,” Colr. Kelly said.

Fr Canning was not available for comment at the time of going to press yesterday evening.