The origins of the Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre, an outstanding Carrick-on-Suir success story, date back a decade.

“We were scratching the ground for a while with it,” reflected Management Committee Vice Chairperson Bridget O’Keeffe.

“It took us some time to get our initial idea off the ground. It took a lot of arm twisting, funding requests and hard work to get us where we are today, but here we are.”

With an 11-strong committee at the helm, along with four staff, the centre, located in Clancy House next to Saint Nicholas’s Church, is rarely idle. The proof of its necessity is reflected in the depth and diversity of groups which avail of it on a regular basis.

Without embarking on a lengthy list of who uses the facility, here’s just a flavour of the bodies which are currently operating under the Community Resource Centre’s roof:

  • The Carrick-on-Suir Jobs Club (with over 700 clients)
  • Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)
  • The Local Employment Service Network
  • The Carers Association
  • South Tipperary VEC Adult Learning Scheme and,
  • Carrick-on-Suir Active Retirement Association (ARA), to name but a half dozen.

“This is an invaluable facility to us,” said ARA Chairperson Jimmy Hogan, whose members were using the centre’s beautiful chapel for some afternoon song and dance during this paper’s recent visit.

“We’ve got 87 people in the group and that number is growing all the time,” added Jimmy. “The committee has been great to us here, as has the staff and they give us all the help we need.

“We’re delighted with the success of our group, and there’s been great work done out the road in Portlaw too in active retirement. We meet here once a fortnight and the musicians that join us, along with the dancing and tai-chi helps to keep us all on our toes.

“We’ve got people coming from Stradbally, Faugheen and Grangemockler, which goes to show the importance of the association and the importance of the centre to us.”

Added Bridget O’Keeffe: “We had about 30 community groups that came together here, with representatives from different organisations combining their knowledge and energy to realise what we now have: a one-stop shop in a single place.

“Not everyone wants to hold their meetings in pubs – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so to have something like the Nano Nagle Centre in place has proven enormously worthwhile for a whole host of reasons.”

The local voluntary effort drove the project to fruition, along with the assistance of FÁS (through Dave Kenneally), Tipperary Enterprise Board, Barrow Nore Suir Leader, Minister Eamon Ó Cuív and Senator Martin Mansergh.

“This facility came into being because of donations, funding from various statutory bodies and, of course, a huge community effort,” according to Bridget. “And without the latter, we wouldn’t be sitting here in this room today having this conversation.”

The success of the centre has exceeded all initial expectations and it’s even provided Ryan Tubridy and his team with some broadcasting space during his recent live morning show in Carrick.

Plans are already afoot to expand the centre’s range of services; further proof, as if any were needed, that Carrick is a town populated by forward-thinking, community-orientated men and women.

That the centre is living up to its mission statement, “to provide a centre that will enable and support the development of new personal and social services by the community for the community” is undisputed.

Another busy year beckons for a facility that is living up to another of its aims, namely: “to encourage and sustain the development of an inclusive and caring community in Carrick-on-Suir”.