The South Leitrim Community Network, in conjunction with Leitrim Development Company, recently undertook research into community buildings in Leitrim which highlights a number of challenges for voluntary groups. The research which is entitled ‘Managing and Sustaining Community Buildings in Leitrim’ was undertaken in the context of cutbacks to the community sector and it set out to establish how this has impacted on volunteers managing community buildings in Leitrim.
A total of seventy-two community buildings were identified in the county and a total of fifty one groups managing these buildings responded to the survey. Some of the key findings of the report include:
- The majority of groups (68%) viewed the lack of funds for running and repair costs as one of their main challenges.
- Currently, the main source of meeting operational costs(including light, heating, water) is through tenants or groups using these centres
- While many centres have meeting rooms, kitchens, accessible toilets, only half of those who responded had computers and wi-fi access in their buildings
- There are a significant number of buildings maintained by schemes including the Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Job Initiative and Community Employment schemes.
- Only 14% highlighted that agencies use their building regularly while the majority (59%) stated that they use it occasionally.
- There was huge variance between the premiums that groups are paying in insurance costs. The majority of buildings were covered with public liability and contents insurance and this varied from €400-€2300
- Seventy one per cent of respondents have plans to renovate, enhance or expand their building.
A number of recommendations are provided in the report and these will be implemented in the coming months. The report was funded under the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme(SICAP). Please visit Leitrim Development Company’s website www.ldco.ie for a copy of the research report.