St Columb’s Park House reopens after major facelift

St Columb's Park House will officially re-open next week after a �1 million refurbishment.
St Columb's Park House will officially re-open next week after a �1 million refurbishment.

A reconciliation centre in Derry’s Waterside is to re-open following a major revamp.

In the region of £1 million has been spent renovating and extending St Columb’s Park House.

Its official opening will take place next Friday, November 16.

Director Brian Dougherty says it’s an exciting time for the centre.

The refurbishment, he says, “has allowed us to provide a modern facility with state of the art audio-visual equipment while managing to retain the character of this Grade B listed building.

“Our premises are now also fully accessible while all our dorms for up to 60 people are ensuite for the first time. We are also particularly excited with the extension to the building - a modern cafeteria which will cater for our clients and will also be open to the public.

“The funding for this project has allowed us to provide a facility in the ‘Heart of the Park’ which will be a great asset during UK City of Culture in 2013. It also allows the organisation to make progress in our aim to become self-sustainable as a non-profit making organisation.”

St. Columb’s Park Reconciliation Trust was set up in 1994 to establish a centre for reconciliation and a safe venue.

In addition, the Trust manages St. Columb’s Park House as a community business offering conference and residential facilities.

The centre is used by a wide range of youth, community, voluntary and statutory organisations. Income from this commercial activity is covenanted to the charitable activities of the Trust.

The centre employs between 6-10 people depending on the intensity of the number of our programmes at any one time people.

The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) has provided the bulk of the funding - £650,000 - for the revamp of the centre.

The work carried out at the venue includes:

* renovation of the conference space, creating four conference rooms catering for up to 150 people.

* creation of office space for up to 10 employees.

* reorganisation and renovation of dormitory accommodation for 55 persons to become all en-suite.

* creation of communal areas with Wi-fi access.

* development of cafeteria catering for up to 60 people.