First phase of Old Creamery Enterprise Centre completed

Committee members pictured outside the Old Creamery Enterprise Centre.

Committee members pictured outside the Old Creamery Enterprise Centre.

Piltown Community Enterprise was founded in 1988 to promote industry and employment in the Parish. Projects promoted by the Board include the development of the Enterprise Centre, Fiddown, completion of the Parish Plan, organising and running information evenings and courses throughout South Kilkenny aimed at equipping individuals with the skills required to develop their businesses.

Piltown GAA in conjunction with prominent members of the business community and local organisations decided in 1988 to organise and launch a Start Your Own Business Competition. This competition resulted in helping to create an enterprise culture within the Parish, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Piltown Community Enterprise which led to the development of the Enterprise Centre in Fiddown.

The Centre offered space and assistance to a wide variety of start-up businesses. The group helped people in setting up and developing their own businesses. There was such a high demand that an extension was added after two years.

By 2002 job creation was no longer the issue. The Centre’s existing tenant, T. Butler Engineering, then occupied two-thirds of the premises. Times were changing and Tom Butler approached the Board of PCEC with a proposal to purchase the Centre. The sale was agreed and this successful, business and the 15 jobs it created were kept in the Piltown area. This centre is still thriving today. It houses two other small businesses as well as T Butler Engineering.

The site of the old creamery in Piltown was then purchased, from the proceeds of sale, with a view to establishing future enterprise units. In the intervening years many proposals have been put forward and plans discussed but not proceeded with.

In 2011, with job creation again becoming an issue in the community, Piltown Community Enterprise undertook the task of renovating this building and of creating incubating units. Due to its historical and heritage value the tall chimney on the Old Creamery Building and part of the structure had to be maintained which posed additional problems and costs. It was therefore decided to tackle this project in two phases. Stage 1 would be the existing old building with the chimney, stage two would be a single storey new build to the front and a two storey building to the rear of site.

An application was submitted to Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and funding of €178,000 was approved in early 2014. The Board then started the difficult task of raising the necessary matching funds to complete the project. Our first fundraising event was a Festival of Motorsport was held in July 2014 in conjunction with Carrick on Suir Motor Club and South East Radiotheraphy Trust. It was supported by the whole community, many of whom got actively involved both beforehand and on the day. The sun shone and the crowds came from all over the country. It was a tremendous success.

Since then the Board and volunteers have been active in the staging and organisation of various events from Christmas Craft Fair to coffee morning, from a Family Fun Day to a Clay Pigeon Shoot. These events together with donations received from individuals and businesses have left PCE in the position of having a current debt of €70,000. There are fundraising events planned for 2015 and 2016 which, it is envisaged, will clear the debt on stage 1. It will then be time to turn our attention to stage 2.

Work commenced on the Old Creamery Building in May 2014 and was completed in mid-March 2015. Today we have eradicated a derelict site, restored a building with considerable heritage value, brought activity back to the centre of the village of Piltown and are providing three units suitable for incubation space for start-up businesses. One unit has already been leased and the tenant will be moving in within the next week. There is considerable interest in the other two units. It is expected that 10 jobs will be created here within a short time.

For the last four years the Board has been involved with a range of other activities aimed at the creation and development of business in the Piltown area. A Business Directory was compiled and delivered to every house in the parish.

Information evenings and courses have been held, ranging from Business Plan Development, to Facebook for Businesses to How the Budget will affect you and your Business. They have been actively involved in an entrepreneur competition which is run in Piltown National School.

They produce a quarterly newsletter which is delivered to every house in the parish by a team of volunteers. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep every person in the community information of PCE’s activities.

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