TWO new community hubs have been opened in the Clogher Valley and Killeeshil areas as part of an ambitious project to regenerate the area and foster stronger community relations.
Dungannon Council is leading the project with the assistance of the Rural Development Programme as well as local community representatives and organisations.
A new era of nursery education begins in the Killeeshil area with the opening of a cross-community nursery school at the former Killymaddy Tourism Centre.
The centre has been refurbished and made fit to purpose for the educational needs of up to 100 pre-school children, and will also become the base of the popular Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society and their burgeoning digital archive.
As well as catering to the childcare needs of local families, it is hoped the centre will become an important focal point for people researching their family history and links to the area.
A sense of community spirit will also be fostered by the opening of the Old Clogher Schoolhouse as a cross-community venue.
Mayor Sean McGuigan is due to officially open both of the buildings with community and SWARD representatives in attendance.
The mayor said the centres will be a great boost to the Clogher Valley area and help foster cross community relations.
“The local communities will be able to use these venues as their own”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society, Brendan Holland thanked the council for their support in securing the Killymaddy building.
“The society has recently researched the story of the Clonaneese Tenants Defence Committee, which was founded in 1897 and largely made up of people from both sides of the community”, said the keen local historian.
“It’s appropriate that 117 years later we are reviving that inclusive spirit by having a cross-community historical society and playgroup setting up a new base at the heart of the community.
“The historical society has been amazed by its success in the past four years, and we hope to continue unearthing more secrets of the past and building bridges between the two communities.
“We hope that the Killymaddy centre will be the perfect vehicle for our vision, and become not just a place to meet, but a shared space for the entire community regardless of their creed or ethos.”
The popular historical society plans to develop a digital archive in the new building.