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€1m childcare facility nears completion

THE new €1.04 million childcare facility in Mountshannon, developed by the local community council, is expected to open at the end of September, it emerged this week.

Catering for 50 at full capacity, the new state-of-the art building includes a créche and facilities for pre-school and after school for children in Mountshannon, Whitegate and the surrounding areas.

Mountshannon Community Council chairman, Paul Bugler told The Clare Champion that a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Veronica Bleach had worked extremely hard over the past year to bring this project to fruition.

While the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform provided capital funding totalling €1m, the local community has to provide €40,000 to cover the fitting out of the centre.

Mr Bugler confirmed that a new management structure would be set up, including representatives of the community council, parents and staff to run the facility.

Meanwhile, the community group is putting the finishing touches to a planning application for the new €85,000 playground in the Iniscealtra Park and expect to lodge it with the council within the next few weeks.

Funding in the region of €62,000 has already been sanctioned by the county council and Mr Bugler hopes they can save a lot of money with the help of their FÁS scheme to reduce the shortfall, which will have to be bridged through local fundraising.

Mr Bugler said that the committee was aware that this was the last year of the council’s community playground scheme and was anxious to start work as soon as possible.

The chairman of the council’s playground committee, Councillor Pat Hayes welcomed the work being done by the community council to prepare a planning application. Councillor Hayes said it would be a pity if any group lost out on funding because they hadn’t drawn down the funding in time.

The new facility will provide recreational facilities for children from two to 12 years of age with swings and slides, as well as a new pyramid climbing piece of equipment.

The proposal to build a new playground in the Aistear Park arose out of the Community Development Diploma course that was run in Mountshannon over the past year and which finished recently.

The research conducted by graduate Jane Murray on the need for a new playground had to be quickly escalated beyond research into a full scale development project following the discovery that there was a grant available from the council and that the deadline was about to close.

Jane quickly turned her research into an application and, in conjunction with the Mountshannon Community Council, successfully secured the grant.

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