Murphy’s on Main Street Community Hub in Ederney is the latest project part funded by the Village Catalyst pilot to open its doors to the local community.
Village Catalyst is a partnership initiative, which tackles rural poverty and social isolation by refurbishing derelict historic buildings for uses which provide access to services and address core needs in small rural communities.
Dr Anne Monaghan, Ederney Community Development Trust said:
“Seven years ago, the Trustees of Ederney Community Development Trust sat down to envisage how we could re-generate Main Street in the village. Like many rural towns, we had suffered dereliction, emigration, isolation and the lack of motivation to turn things around. The development of Murphy’s on Main Street Community Hub and Tearooms stimulated the imagination and, thanks to the medley of funding - large and small – it has led to the opening of an Airbnb, a firm of accountants and the re-location of a hairdresser back to the village, as well as the construction of five new town houses immediately opposite. The Village Catalyst project has been transformative for Ederney.”
Village Catalyst is led by Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Department for Communities (DfC) with support from the Architectural Heritage Fund, and Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Teresa O’Neill, Director of Rural Affairs in DAERA commented:
“DAERA is delighted to have contributed £200k to this significant development in Ederney, which has breathed new life into a disused building. It is one of four projects DAERA has supported through the Village Catalyst Pilot Scheme and funded through our Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme. The provision of a co-working and wellbeing hub has addressed local identified needs, which will help bring social and economic benefits to the rural community in the Ederney area.”
Speaking at the opening, Brian McKervey, Department for Communities Historic Environment Division, said:
“The work undertaken at Murphy’s on Main Street Community Hub shows how a partnership approach has helped transform this listed building, delivering an innovative project which will benefit the wider community. Through Village Catalyst, a heritage asset in the heart of the village that was previously derelict for many years has now been conserved and modernised, delivering useful spaces for local businesses as well as tearooms and an accessible event space for the local area. At DfC we are committed to protecting our local heritage and fulfilling its potential, and this investment is a positive step towards greater economic sustainability and community wellbeing.”
The extended and restored listed building is now at the centre of the community. Alongside the Tearooms, the building also provides a co-working and wellbeing hub, stimulating local business to help shape the future of the village. The historic layout remains with the original Murphy’s café and shop, now Tearooms divided between front shop space and back snug. Upstairs through the side entrance, the living space has become intimate working or meeting spaces with a connection to Main Street or the internal courtyard.
The original outbuilding at the rear has been retained, partly reconstructed, and extended to provide bright, quiet, wellbeing spaces away from the main street as well as an event space. The property also provides an informal courtyard and garden space to further enhance what is on offer at the building.
Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said:
“We are proud to have worked closely with Ederney Community Development Trust from the beginning of their project to help create this fantastic new asset, one which addresses key local needs and is helping bring life back to the heart of this village.”
Mukesh Sharma, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland, said:
“It is inspiring to visit Murphy’s on Main Street Community Hub to see what can be achieved in a community, through strong partnerships and targeted investment. Though it’s more than that, heritage is as much about the past as it is the future and the people of this community have combined their passion for the past in restoring this historic building with their determination to bring a bright future to the village and everyone who lives and works here. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is committed to investing in communities and places across Northern Ireland and I hope projects like this will inspire applications and continue to make a positive impact for rural communities.”
Dr Monaghan concluded:
“The Trust also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Covid Recovery Small Settlement Regeneration Programme for the project.”
The £4.2 million Village Catalyst programme is open to applications for three strands of funding. Viability, development and capital funding are available to help shape projects that address DAERA’s TRPSI Framework. Pilot projects have identified community uses for listed buildings or property in conservation areas which include: community-led affordable housing in a listed bank in Rathfriland; tourist facilities and community group use in the Old Post Office, Gracehill; and a childcare facility in Caledon’s 19th century Woolstore for over 50 children, greatly benefiting local families.
Notes to editors:
- Photo captions: Matthew Mckeague, Architectural Heritage Fund, Mukesh Sharma National Lottery Heritage Fund, Teresa O’Neill, DAERA, Brian McKervey DfC and Dr Anne Monaghan, Ederney Community Development Trust at the opening of Murphy’s on Main Street Community Hub.
- The Village Catalyst grant scheme is an innovative partnership initiative between the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Department for Communities (DfC), the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). Village Catalyst shows how dereliction can be tackled by making the most of these historic assets in ways that best benefit the communities in which they sit.
- Applications are invited from charities, social enterprise and other not for profit groups in rural villages of less than 5,000 people who want to tackle rural poverty and social isolation in their area by developing a sustainable use for a disused historic building.
- Funding of up to £10k is available to support project viability work. This support is administered by the Architectural Heritage Fund
- Funding of up to £20k is available to support project development work.
- Funding of up to £200k is available to support project delivery i.e. capital works on site to enable the historic building to deliver a sustainable use that helps to tackle rural poverty and social isolation. This support is administered by DfC. It seeks to make up an identified funding shortfall between project costs and community resources available to support the project. For further information contact please e-mail villagecatalystsupport
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