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CoRa Community Hub Launch 19th Feb 2023

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Corduff Raferagh Community Association Committee were delighted to welcome Minister for Rural & Community Development and Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys to the Community Centre last Friday evening (February 10th) to officially launch the new CoRa Community Hub and the Community Website (corduffraferagh.ie).  Last year the group received funding from the Department of Rural & Community Development under the Connected Hub Scheme to renovate two rooms in the building for use as remote working office spaces.  The funding also facilitated the creation of a Community Website and provided for new signage on the exterior of the building.  In 2021 the community centre was chosen by Monaghan County Council to become one of 12 BCP’s (Broadband Connection Points) in Co. Monaghan, thanks to John McArdle, MCC Broadband officer, who nominated the Centre and assisted in the delivery of this service to the building.  The Centre now has 150MB high speed high quality broadband throughout the building.  Having secured high speed broadband, the Committee could now consider creating a comfortable and modern office environment for individuals, students, businesses or groups to use.  With the grant aid, two Hot Desk spaces were created which feature height adjustable desks, office chairs, and large computer screens in a bright and modern setting.  The meeting room upstairs is now a comfortable Conference Room with a 75inch TV monitor, suitable for presentations or zoom calls, a conference speaker telephone, laptops, printer and photocopier.  This space can also convert to Hot Desk space.

CoRa Hub is listed on the Connected Hubs Website (connectedhubs.ie), which is a one-stop-shop for all digital hubs throughout Ireland, the Centre is now one of over 300 hubs listed. The connectedhubs.ie website is designed to simplify and standardise the process of sourcing and booking desk space, office and events space in hubs for a day, week, month, year or longer.  CoRa Hub are delighted to be listed on this national website as it showcases the facilities to those outside the area.  Users of the hub can also avail of training and events run nationally through the connected hubs website that are suited to the needs of the community, such as business, cultural or creative events.

The creation of the new facilities in the Community Centre opens up additional opportunities for business, enterprise, community, individuals, clubs and groups in the area, to offer remote working facilities, as well as training and conference facilities, IT training, student study space, livestream events or use for social gatherings.

Chairperson of the Community Association, Lorcan Hand was delighted to welcome Minister Humphries to the Centre for the official launch.  A number of elected representatives sent their apologies.  After a tour of the upgraded facilities, Lorcan welcomed those in attendance and thanked Minister Humphries for her continued support of Corduff Raferagh Community Centre.

Secretary, Patricia Murtagh, gave a presentation on the CoRa Hub facilities and how the BCP enabled the committee to bring the forty year old building well and truly into the twenty first century.  Explaining that “this was a great achievement for the centre as we are now online and part of connected communities and a range of opportunities that were previously not possible are now open to us.”

PRO, Bernie Ruth, exhibited a few pages from the new corduffraferagh.ie website, explaining some of the information and details contained under each page heading, such as contact details for schools, churches, clubs and groups in the area.  The various activities in the Community Centre, the Mountain Dew bar and booking facilities for CoRa Hub.  The News page of the website will keep locals and the community’s diaspora up to date with news and information, especially those who are not social media users.  Bernie thanked the sponsors who came on board to help the group cover the yearly running costs associated with the website – Activ8 Solar Energies, Corrigan Staircases, Hills Garden Centre, L & P Developments, Marron Farm Services, MH Bricklaying & O’Sullivan Murtagh Solicitors.

Breda McGuigan from Aura Internet Service, Carrickmacross, who designed the Website, spoke of the importance of website facilities to rural communities like Corduff and Raferagh.

Minister Heather Humphries was delighted to officially launch the facilities and congratulated the committee and community on their constant upgrade and use of the centre.  Minister Humphries is passionate about ensuring that rural communities are not left behind in the modern perception where cities and large towns are sucking the lifeblood out of small parishes around the country.  She advocates for public spending in these communities to keep them vibrant and provide previously unavailable facilities so young families can grow in rural environments.

Lorcan concluded the speeches by thanking members of the Committee for giving their time voluntarily to complete all projects undertaken by the group.  Many hours were set aside from family, social and work life to bring projects to successful conclusions and provide facilities for everyone to avail of.  He thanked the Community Centre staff – Pauline, Betty, Agnese and Siobhan, who keep the facilities looking great on a day to day basis.  He explained that there was a busy year ahead for the Committee as further funding has been secured through Minister Humphries Department to add a Lift and new wheelchair accessible toilets to the building, as well as other upgrades.  Corduff Raferagh Community Centre is also celebrating its fortieth anniversary since its opening in 1983, and the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Mountain Dew bar in 2003.  Celebratory events are planned for St. Patrick’s weekend.

Finally, Lorcan thanked Minister Humphries for giving up her evening to join the committee on what was a great evening for the Corduff Raferagh Community.

The night was concluded with refreshments served by the staff and home baked treats by Margaret Fox.  A special Thank you from the committee goes to Peter & Bernadette Byrne who provided technical support and assistance on the night.

If anyone would like to book any of the facilities in CoRa Hub, click to the Contact page https://corduffraferagh.ie/contact-us/

For the full report and photographs of the launch, see page 15 of this weeks Northern Standard dated 16th February.