PLANS for housing for older members of a religious community in Tuamgraney are being considered by Clare County Council.
At the end of last month, The Christian Community lodged an application to update their existing facilities at Drewsborough and to create 12 new accommodation units.
On its website (Thechristiancommunityireland.net), The Christian Community, a registered charity, describes itself as a “religious renewal movement”, which was founded in Europe in the years following World War I and came to Ireland in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Currently, weekly and monthly services are held in Tuamgraney and in the Kilkenny area.
According to a design statement submitted with the application, the existing Christian Community Centre is made up of a chapel, priest’s house, visitor accommodation, therapy rooms and associated services.
“The existing chapel does not meet the needs of the community/congregation,” the statement outlined, “and the building is in need of major repairs and maintenance”.
The statement also described “an acute need identified in the community/congregation for secure and appropriate accommodation for ageing members of the community, ideally located close to the Christian Community Centre, where a mutual synergy can exist between the centre and the residents”.
The application noted that the need for accommodation for the elders is not a need unique to The Christian Community and that many local authorities and organisations are looking for ways to meet the challenge.
“The accommodation units can be quite small; two-bedroom units designed to be accessible,” the design statement outlined.
“Many of the services and facilities can be provided by the community centre and there will be a lot of cooperation between the residents themselves.”
In relation to the physical design, the application noted that, “The core of the design revolves around community and it is proposed that an outdoor community space becomes the core of the building arrangement”.
It said that mature trees on the site will be maintained and that, in order to maximise the use of the existing buildings, activities that are not 24/7 will be redirected towards those, while the accommodation element will go into a new unit.
In relation to the 12 accommodation units, the statement outlined the advantages of having residential units for older people on-site.
These include the sharing of experiences and resources, as well as having someone on call as needs arise.
Opportunities for older people to take a more active role in the organisation are also outlined, as well as the benefits of having maintenance done by the community and the presence of facilities in close proximity.
The application noted that The Christian Community has been able to obtain a site to the south of its existing centre opening opportunities to deal with the pressing issues of updating existing facilities and providing accommodation for older people.
“This proposal is a positive contribution to proper and sustainable planning in the area,” the statement concluded.
Clare County Council has indicated that a decision in relation to the application could be made in late August.
by Fiona McGarry