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New Community Hubs to Improve Life in Local Housing Estates

News 27 October 2022

New Community Hubs are being created in local housing estates in Longford, as part of the new Department of Justice approved Community Safety Partnership Project.

This community-based initiative will be trialled for two years, allowing local communities to work with State and community services to draw up plans to promote social cohesion, integration and to prevent crime in these local areas. Three locations were identified to trial the initiative – Longford, Waterford, and Dublin’s North Inner City – based on factors including population density, crime rates and deprivation.

In Longford, council-donated houses in the Ardnacassa Estate and McKeown Park will offer a space to engage with people in these communities through workshops, training courses, information events, coffee mornings, easily accessible multi-purpose rooms and parent and toddler groups.

Residents will have access to space, information and services as well as a stake in their community right on their doorstep. Janine Bartley, Longford’s Community Safety Coordinator, believes this is vital to overcoming issues in the area and strengthening these communities.

“Sometimes, for whatever reason, people from these communities find it difficult to trust and engage with social, community and policing services. Spaces directly within these estates that work on building up trust and building up relationships will help identify the key issues in these areas. And more importantly, what the residents want us to do to tackle them,” Bartley said.

“These community hubs and other new initiatives came from the Commission on Future Policing that began work in 2017. One of the key recommendations was that community safety is not just a responsibility of An Garda Síochána. It’s everybody’s responsibility and a more coordinated approach must be taken by statutory agencies, community agencies, voluntary agencies, and the community residents themselves. These hubs are the spaces where we hope this collaboration can begin.”

The newly repurposed spaces were refurbished with furniture and equipment donated by another Longford community-based organisation, the employability and skills provider, Seetec.

“We were thrilled to help this innovative project in any way we could, we even enlisted the Irish Defence Forces to round up all the gear,” said Noeleen Nannery, Seetec’s Regional Operations Manager.

“We’ve been supporting the people of Longford into employment and training for the past seven years. As an employee-owned organisation that delivers a socially driven service, we are deeply invested in the communities we serve. This sort of initiative really resonates with our mission and values.”

Nannery continued, “This space also offers significant future potential for further collaboration between the Community Safety Partnership and Seetec. We’re exploring the potential of offering direct information sessions on skills, training and employment to the Ardnacassa and McKeown Park communities. This sort of outreach is exactly what these hubs were created for.”

Both Ardnacassa and McKeown Park Community Hubs will be open to the public in the first week of November. Ardnacassa will host a launch event on October 28th to introduce the space to statutory and community agencies.

For more information on the Community House project, contact Janine Bartley – Longford County Council on 086 103 7184 or email: