Formal Opening of Respond! John’s College redevelopment

Pictured at the plaque unveiling at the official opening of John's College are, from left, Fr Pat Cogan OFM (Founding director of Respond!), Tom Power (Respond Support); Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan; Cllr Adam Wyse (Mayor of Waterford City & County), Damien English TD (Minister of State of Housing and Urban Renewal), John Halligan TD (Minister for Training, Skills & Innovation) and Dean of Christchurch, Maria Jansson.

Pictured at the plaque unveiling at the official opening of John's College are, from left, Fr Pat Cogan OFM (Founding director of Respond!), Tom Power (Respond Support); Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan; Cllr Adam Wyse (Mayor of Waterford City & County), Damien English TD (Minister of State of Housing and Urban Renewal), John Halligan TD (Minister for Training, Skills & Innovation) and Dean of Christchurch, Maria Jansson.

On Friday last, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English TD performed the official opening of the John’s College campus in Waterford with a large crowd of distinguished guests in attendance.
The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan and Dean Maria Jansson carried out a blessing of the campus.
The actual re-construction of John’s College began in March 2014 by Respond! Ltd and was completed in November 2015 by Mythen Construction, ahead of schedule. The impressive development includes 21 new apartments in the College, with a 10-bed group home and 36 new-build one-bed apartments overlooking the Folly.
The total redevelopment costs came to €12 million. All of the residents in John’s College came from the Waterford City and County Local Authority waiting list. The apartments cater mainly for older people and people with specific needs and requirements who are capable of independent living.
The recently elected Mayor of Waterford City & County, Cllr Adam Wyse was in attendance and was highly impressed with the redevelopment
“The care and attention afforded to this project is obvious from the moment you enter the college grounds.
The delivery of 67 new units of accommodation is welcome at any time but especially welcome at this point in time when demand is at its highest for available housing units. Both Respond and Waterford City & County Council have been to the forefront in the delivery of high quality social housing initiatives jointly and in their own right. Minister English had already noted Respond has a track record in the delivery of 5,500 dwellings to date and have never shirked their responsibility to meet the challenge of those who are homeless and on housing waiting lists and is currently developing in-house design team capacity to meet current housing needs.
“As Mayor I am grateful to the team in Respond who have worked tirelessly since 2007 to bring this ambitious conservation project to fruition and have made today a reality. A project of this calibre is immense and to ensure the renovation of this historic building is a double win for Waterford. I also wish to commend the officials in the Housing section of Waterford City & County Council and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government for working with Respond to ensure the delivery of the 67 new units”.
Fr Patrick Cogan, OFM, a Founding Director of Respond! said he hoped the excellent facilities would be widely used. “We welcome all Community Groups to come up and utilise the excellent facilities on offer in John’s College. This redevelopment is the culmination of 34 years of Respond!’s work in Waterford where we have provided over 570 dwellings. Now Respond SUPPORT Ltd gives back this flagship development to the people of Waterford and we invite you to participate with us in the services it will be providing.”
Minister Damien English congratulated all involved with the project.
“I congratulate Respond for the development of St. John’s College. Delivering these 67 units was no small feat and I’m aware that Waterford City and County Council was very anxious to see this project progressed in the context of protecting the architectural heritage of the City”.
Respond SUPPORT Ltd (a sister company of Respond!) is now offering a number of essential support services in John’s College Campus for the wider Waterford community including a Community Education Centre, Conference Centre, Activation Room, Sensory Garden and The Hub Café which is due to open within a fortnight. There are a number of rooms available to rent for meetings, community educational classes and conferences for up to 150 people. The Waterford Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland are one of the main anchor tenants of John’s College and use the building for their educational programmes and activities.

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