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Enfield Community Hall Updates

This building was the original community hub of the town, before falling into disrepair a number of years ago. Community Centres play a vital role as an anchor in an area. They are places where people of all ages can gather to enrich their bodies and minds, as well as foster feelings of community and civic pride. It presents the ideal opportunity to develop a multi-functional Community Centre in the heart of Enfield.

The vision is to transform the Hall into a modern, attractive, vibrant, multi-functional space able to support music, arts, sports and culture for the benefit of the entire community, young and old, thus providing Enfield with the flexible, community space urgently required to meet the needs of this diverse, growing town.

In the last 20 years Enfield has changed from a small, rural village of ~500 people to a busy commuter town, with a population that is closing on 4,000. With such a significant influx of new residents to Enfield allied with a high percentage of commuters, there is a real danger that Enfield will become a dormitory town lacking a cohesive community spirit where incoming residents do not feel connected to their new location and lack a sense of belonging. Compounding this, has been the historic lack of community infrastructure outside of a few vibrant local sports clubs.

The Story So Far...

After EDG bought the hall in 2019, the focus was on getting not only the required changes identified to allow the hall reopen to the public from a building regulations viewpoint, but on using the space as best as possible to allow it be a useful centre in the future.

Architect drawings were commissioned and the scope of works broken down into bite size stages. In 2021, EDG successfully managed to get funding to replace the old windows in the building - which were then boarded up to prevent any outside damage until the hall can be reopened.

In 2022, funding was again applied for to allow the full hall renovation to take place, however EDG were only awarded half of the amount sought. Nevertheless, with the help of Meath County Council, EDG re-worked the project plan to focus on what possibly could be done for the amount available (€250,000). This was the roof and M&E works - which basically is gutting all wiring, and heating systems which are no longer up to code, as well as replacing the large roof.

The large roof is mostly hidden from the main road, but is visible if you walk down the small alleyway to the left of the building. Fun fact! As it failed the fire cert in 2016, although an over 40 year old building, it needs to meet the full 2023 standards in order to reopen.

In early 2023 the tenders went out for the M&E and roof works, and the tender responses from contractors was about 2-3 times the value of the grant available. This is directly linked to the construction inflation which is rampant during 2021 onwards due partly to Covid and the Ukraine war. So, EDG along with MCC created a fresh plan.

In May 2023, reps from EDG and MCC met with Minister Heather Humphries, which was facilitated by Damien English at the official opening of the Enfield Library to make the case for prioritising the reopening of the old parish hall. At the meeting the minister supported the idea and her department worked with MCC to implement the plan via the established funding systems. (These funding streams often work in timelines of months or yearly events, so we can appreciate the fact that long periods of time can go by without any word or activity. In addition, due to the reasonably competitive nature of funding requests to a limited department budget, and the wide variety of needs and good causes in the county - let alone the country, very often it can't be discussed publicly until an official announcement.)

In October 2023, as part of the derelict buildings grant, MCC bought the hall from EDG. MCC also, in November, applied for a large refurbishment grant to cover about 2/3rds of the envisaged cost of refurbishing the hall to fully open. EDG will fund the balance from the hall sale proceeds. As this is part of a national scheme, it will form part of a national announcement in April 2024.

The Next Steps

After the above (assuming no hiccups!), the plan is that MCC will retender for the completed works to get the hall open. It is a bit of a running race currently against spiralling construction costs, however based on the updated estimates from EDG's Quantity Surveyor, it should be enough to cover it with some margin for inflation.

Once the hall is fully refurbished, EDG and MCC intend to enter into a long term lease agreement whereby EDG will operate the Hall as a community facility. This should allow the hall to be open finally again for all the people of Enfield. In addition, as it would then become a MCC - e.g. state owned asset, it should allow for future failsafes to prevent the building becoming non-operational as a hall in the future. As of time of writing, EDG's Architect, MCC Procurement team are ready to go to launch the tender to get the build underway as soon as possible. Stay tuned for more updates as they happen!

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