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Mick Guinee, managing director, Ei Electronics (second from left) with, from left, Kevin Thompstone, Derek Barrett and Eoin Hoctor, The Shannon Venue team leaders.

Arts centre on track for €1m funding target

THOSE involved in the Shannon Venue Ltd, which is seeking to provide a new iconic, multifunctional civic and arts centre for the town, say they are well on their way to meeting a target of raising €1 million in funding by the end of 2013.

In a statement this week, the group said locally-based EI Electronics has “committed significant funding to the project and, in so doing, becomes the first company to make a financial commitment to this very progressive cultural undertaking for Shannon”.

EI Electronics managing director Mick Guinee said, “It is appropriate, as we celebrate 50 years in business in Shannon in 2013, that EI Electronics should give the lead to the corporate sector by making a significant contribution to the funding of the Shannon Venue. The majority of our employees come from Shannon and the environs and I believe that the proposed multi-functional civic and arts centre will enrich the lives of these people and their families.

“A town the size of Shannon deserves such a facility and the fact that it is multi-functional means it can benefit everyone in the community. EI Electronics is delighted to support this worthy project. I commend the people who initiated it and I sincerely hope they will bring it to fruition.”
Derek Barrett is involved in the Shannon Venue Ltd and said he believes the target of raising €1m by the end of the year can be met.

“We’re hopeful. We’re meeting with a number of different organisations and we’ve had positive feedback firstly on the concept, there’s buy-in in that respect. It’s a long process, with a few meetings with each company but we have indications that are positive.

“We can only look at what has come in already and we’d be hopeful if that continues that we’ll reach it. Primarily, we are focussing on the next couple of months on corporates because that’s where we believe a lot of the funding will come from but in the next month or so we’ll be looking at the public support side of things, maybe in the line of sponsoring a seat in the theatre. That gives the community a chance to get involved and row in behind it.”

Mr Barrett said it is hard to pinpoint how much the development will cost. “Looking at similar venues, it can be anywhere from €4m to €7m. We’re looking at the top end because what we’re trying to do is develop a multifunctional space. If it was just a theatre, you could trim everything back but what the town is lacking is all community facilities that other towns have. The theatre is more a byproduct of this space. It’ll be there and there will be capacity for loads of different things but what we need is people coming to the centre on a Tuesday night to do yoga or meditation or flower arranging or painting or rehearsing for a musical. It’s not just a theatre space, it’s a multifunctional civic and community space.”

He said in the next couple of months they will be speaking to architects and in the early part of the spring, they hope to be in a position to lodge a planning application.

For the moment, getting funds together will be the top priority, he concluded.

“We’re looking to achieve our fundraising target by the end of the year. That’s our main focus. We’ll be going to the tendering process for architects and getting plans together in tandem but we need to show we have the capacity to raise to money and that we have buy-in from the corporate sector and the community.”

The Shannon Venue would be located at a site in Shannon Town Centre and would include a 350-seat theatre, with other rooms for smaller gatherings.

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