New Sean O' Casey Community Centre opens in Dublin's Docklands
Dramatic new Building is both a Resource and Expression of Identity
The new Sean O'Casey Community Centre on St Mary's Road, East Wall, Docklands was officially opened today, Friday 6th February 2009 by Bertie Ahern, TD. following a complete rebuild and extension. The €9 million investment was part-funded by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
Designed by O'Donnell + Twomey architects, the dramatic 2,000 square metre building houses four main facilities - a crèche; day care facilities for the elderly; a 153 seater theatre and a sports hall. These individual elements are open into a series of internal courtyards in a cloister type layout. The signature five storey tower with its distinctive porthole windows gives East Wall its own piece of physical regeneration. Visible from other areas of the city it houses meeting rooms, adult education class rooms and offices. Outside there is an all weather soccer pitch.
Landscaping plays an important role in the creation of the pleasing atmosphere in the centre. The building is surrounded on three sides with a moat of grass and trees, while interior gardens of miniature woodlands planted with oak, birch and hazel diagonally link the interior sections.
Speaking at the official opening Paul Maloney, Chief Executive, Docklands Authority said the Sean O'Casey Community Centre is a unique facility which is a visible expression of a vibrant local community. "This project demonstrates what can be achieved in terms of social regeneration when the community, the architects and the developing Authority work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the community. One of our key objectives in the regeneration of Dublin Docklands is to facilitate family living through the provision of social amenities and the new Sean O'Casey Community Centre is an excellent example of how this can be achieved" he said.
Gerry Kelly, Director of Social Regeneration for the Docklands Authority said that the fact the new centre had been designed in close consultation with the local community was key to the success of the project. "Over the years the East Wall Community Centre had been used by 23 different groups. As a result the new centre is both a fantastic community resource and a physical representation of the strong identity of the East Wall community".
To celebrate the official opening the local PEG Drama Group gave a performance entitled ‘Echoes of Sean O'Casey' in the new theatre that bears the playwright's name.
For further information or images, please contact:
Gerry Kelly, Director of Social Regeneration, Docklands Authority,
Tel 01 818 3300
Loretta Lambkin, Director of Marketing, Docklands Authority, Tel 01 818 3300
Sheila Gahan, or Eileen O'Malley WHPR, Tel 01 669 0030/087 234 2409
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
SOCIAL REGENERATION IN DUBLIN'S DOCKLANDS
The overriding goal of Dublin's Docklands project is the development of a world class city quarter of sustainable inner city regeneration in which the whole community enjoys the highest standards of access to education, employment, housing and social amenity.
In effect, this means that the Docklands Authority's remit extends far beyond its role of property developer and planning authority. For over ten years now as part of its aim to create an inclusive culture in the area, the Docklands Authority has been working closely with the local communities and local Docklands schools.
This ongoing investment in supporting education and social regeneration has resulted in a number of successful initiatives in the community and has made a measurable difference to people living in the area.
Highlights of the Docklands Authority's Social Regeneration Programme include:
• €16 million invested by The Docklands Authority in social regeneration including grants under its Community Development Project Initiative Programme
• The development of a School Principal's Forum involving 25 schools under which more than 30 education initiatives are coordinated and implemented. This forum is the only one of its kind in Ireland.
• The development of a schools' Music Education Programme in conjunction with the National Concert Hall, which was since awarded the National Business2Arts Award.
• ‘Caught on Camera' a photographic project for young docklanders which involves photographic exhibitions and the publication of a book of photographs launched by the Minister for Education. This project also won a Business2Arts award.
• The introduction of an annual Social Regeneration Conference attended by representatives from community groups and organisations.
• A literacy programme aimed at improving the library facilities and reading provision in Docklands Schools
• Drama classes are now offered in 16 primary schools and one secondary school in the Docklands area. Eleven primary schools participated in the 2007 Docklands Theatre Festival in Andrews Lane Theatre
• There is also an annual Drama Academy organised, and the success of drama projects has been recognised with three successive ‘Alliance Business to Arts' awards for Docklands drama initiatives
• Special teacher training programmes in dyslexia, behavioural management; and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Management
• Other education support programmes including a Parents in Education Programme and an Emotional Intelligence Programme in schools
• The introduction of a Young Mothers Self Development Programme focussing on career and personal development.
• Regular sports academies for soccer, hurling and gaelic football where children from Dublin's Docklands learn sporting skills from sports stars such as Niall Quinn, Nicky English and Ray Houghton.
• Community festivals, such as the Annual ‘Splash Week's in Pearse Street and Ringsend/Irishtown run in conjunction with the local community Gardai and talent competitions for various age categories.
• The development of a schools cross cultural exchange programme involving St Laurence O'Toole National Schools and Eu, a town in Normandy where St Laurence O'Toole is buried. The Docklands Authority sponsors French classes in the local schools, and also sponsors a trip to Eu for fifth class students every year where they experience French life and culture. The relationship between the Docklands community and Eu was recently recognised with the naming of ‘Dublin Street' in the new Irish quarter of the French town.
• In 2007, 116 students were awarded scholarships to attend third level education. This brings to over 250 the number of scholarships awarded since the programme's inception eight years ago.
• Running in parallel with the Scholarship Programme is the ‘Discovering University Programme' which has seen more than 260 Docklanders participate since 1997.
• Over 150 young Docklanders have attained positions in businesses in the IFSC under the Schools Job Placement programme, and many school leavers have been placed in trade apprenticeships in the area.
These examples give a flavour of the type of social regeneration activity happening in Dublin's Docklands. There are many more initiatives taking place, particularly in the education area.