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Corduff History

Our History

Corduff Raferagh Community Centre

A brief history

In May 1980, a group of people in the community came together with a view to purchasing land to develop a football pitch and build a Community Centre.  During that summer a delegation approached Fr. Larry Marron P.P. in Carrickmacross.  Fr. Larry agreed to sell a portion of land that the Diocesan Trust had bought from Tommy and Mary McKeown as a site for a new school.  This area is now the grounds of the football pitch.  The price agreed was £12,000 which was to be paid for over 8 years at £1,500 a year.

In October 1980, the first Community Council was formed with two members from each organisation in the parish and a new energetic committee elected. Fundraising began with a house to house collection.  Donations were also received from working members of the community and subscriptions from abroad.  In the following years many fundraising events were held including a raffle for a Ford Fiesta car, dances, bazaars and concerts.  We also had a charity football match between the Chicago Wolfe Tones team and a south Monaghan selection, thanks to local man Lorcan Callan who was chairman of the Wolfe Tones club.

In November 1980, McCabe Brothers, from the Mile River were awarded the contract for levelling the football pitch.

In 1981, a second piece of land was bought from the Diocesan Trust which is now the site for the Community Centre.  Plans were drawn up and planning was approved in October 1981.  During that autumn the foundations were laid, steel girders erected and a cladding roof installed, all with voluntary labour.  This work was completed before winter 1981.

In June 1982, we were awarded a grant of £50,000 (€63,500) from the Department of Sport.  The contract for building the Community Centre was awarded to JCK Homes (John King).  On 10th February 1983 the doors were opened, starting with Mass and followed by refreshments and the first dance.  The official opening was held on 29th May of that year.  The pitch and Centre were blessed by Rt. Rev. Dean Morris P.P. and the pitch was opened by Phil Smith, President of the G.A.A. Ulster Council.   Later that evening the Community Centre was officially opened by Minister for Sport, George Bermingham and was followed by a dance at which food was served.

In 1984, the handball alley was completed.  Most of this work was done voluntarily, by members of the Community Council.  As 1984 was the centenary of the G.A.A., there was great delight in the club to have secured their own grounds and handball alley.

Since 1983 the Community Centre has accommodated all organisations in the locality including sports, music and social groups.  Thankfully the Centre has the support of the community.  We also ran a 6 week Summer Fun programme for national school children throughout the summer.  We were successful in staging Scór, various dances, educational programmes and dance classes.  In 1996 we catered for the 25th Anniversary of the foundation of the local Macra na Feirme Club and hosted the Northern Sound Highways and Byways programme as part of that celebration.

As the Centre developed we registered as a limited company and received charitable status, thus the change of name to Corduff Raferagh Community Association CLG.

In 1997, a community audit was conducted in the area with the support of UCD and grant aided by the Leader Programme.  The audit highlighted the need for a Play School, Kitchen facilities, pub, heritage centre, meeting rooms and a training room. 

This required an extension to the Community Centre.  During the early 2000s the Centre was extended to include all the required facilities.  This extension was constructed by Corduff Construction (Philip and Vincent Marron).  The project was supported by 24 pieces of funding over a 2 year period to a value of €650,000.  There was also €180,000 raised locally, thanks to the generous support of the local community.  The Mountain Dew was subsequently opened on St. Patrick’s night 2003.  Bright Sparks playschool was opened the following month and the new kitchen was opened shortly afterwards.  The official opening of the new facilities was performed by Mary Mc Aleese, President of Ireland, on 1st December 2005.  The new facilities were the catalyst for new organisations with the formation of the Active Retirement group, Bright Sparks and the Comhaltas monthly session in the Mountain Dew.  The Mountain Dew also allows us to cater for funeral receptions, birthday parties, wedding celebrations, table quizzes, coming home parties and going away parties.  We are also very thankful for all the teams,  groups and individuals who come home to celebrate their success with us.

We are also very grateful to our CE workers who have been with us since the early nineties. Without their dedication the Centre could not function.  We also have a team of local volunteers who are available to assist at any time and their efforts are invaluable and greatly appreciated.

The Community Association has also organised many large fund-raising events including Strictly Come Dancing, Stars in Their Eyes and the Gathering in 2013 and we are grateful to the Drama club from whom we receive the proceeds of their productions.  Social dancing is also a major source of income for the Centre.  Without all of these events it would not be possible to keep the Centre viable.

In 2014, our area was nominated by Monaghan County Council to represent the county in Category Two (for populations between 250—750 people) of the 12th annual Pride of Place Awards, our area claimed the runner-up prize.  Speaking with the Northern Standard reporter at the awards ceremony, the Pride of Place Judge Tom Dowling said “that he was very impressed with the presentation on the day he and his wife visited Corduff Raferagh Community Centre, adding that this vibrant community had obviously considered sustainability.  He was also full of admiration regarding how the population had grown.”

In 2016 the Community Association saw the need for a refurbishment programme, the building had become cold and uninviting with a leaking roof.  The refurbishment included the installation of a new roof, acoustic ceiling panels and PV solar panels.  The building was then insulated, painted, decorated and new low energy lighting installed, all of which would future proof the building.  These renovations have greatly reduced our carbon footprint and made the building more comfortable for our patrons.  This work was carried out by Sean Hand Construction.  We received grant aid from the Leader Programme for these renovations with local contributions making up the final 25% of the cost.  Our thanks to Monaghan Integrated Development who worked in partnership with us to bring this to completion. The Re-Launch of the Community Centre was performed by local man Gerry Murphy of Met Eireann and RTE Weather.

In 2020 Covid 19 arrived and for nearly two years our Community Centre was closed.  The pandemic restricted every aspect of our lives.  A Midsummer Madness Community Challenge was organised for June, this outdoor event ran over 36 hours where families and individuals took part in a sponsored walk/run/cycle with the finances going to support the Community Centre.  The event was supported by the local community, and our diaspora in the U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  It was a wonderful success and helped greatly to reduce the Centre’s renovation overdraft.

In 2021 we were successful in getting a Broadband Connection Point (BCP) in the Community Centre (one of twelve installed in Co. Monaghan).  This provides high speed broadband free to everybody in the community.  It enables us to provide two hot desks and conference room facilities. This project also allowed us to provide our own community website.  We encourage all organisations to promote their own activities on this site.

As we look forward to the future we plan to have an E-Health Hub installed in the building and provide a lift to all floor levels. This will provide better access and make the Centre more user friendly.  

The success of the Corduff Raferagh Community Centre over the past forty years is due to a collaboration of great committee members, great community support from home and abroad, volunteers, FAS & CE workers and the many Funding agencies who provided much needed financial support to update and modernise the building.

 

Best wishes to everybody who uses our facilities.