FOR decades Boher train station was a central point in East Limerick for farmersâ€™ produce to be sold in Dublin. Now Boher Community Development Association want to make it the central point in their community.
A major fundraising drive has started with the first of five monthly club draws for the refurbishment of the community centre to commence in Hanlyâ€™s Bar on Wednesday, July 4 at 9pm.
They aim to raise around â‚¬30,000 and have secured 75 per cent of the cost from Ballyhoura.
Owen Oâ€™Neill, chairman, said that people told them it will be very difficult to collect money, but they have got a tremendous response.
â€œIn a downturn in the economy people turn to more local events and ask what can we do for our own community. We have a tremendous spirit in Boher. Weâ€™re calling to over 200 houses and weâ€™re getting a tremendous reception on the door.
â€œThere is a need for a centre for recreation. All local clubs and societies - bridge, tennis, GAA, Macra, ladies football, IFA, camogie, to mention but a few, will benefit from this centre,â€ said Mr Oâ€™Neill.
The building dates back to the late 19th century. In 1969, Boher Community Development Association purchased the Boher CIE station for around Â£1,000. In 1977, following fundraising for the renovation and extension of the building, the former station was officially opened as a community centre for the parish.
It was run very successfully for years but closed over five years ago as it needed serious renovation.
â€œIf a place falls in to disuse windows are going to be broken, people are going to go in and write graffiti. Thatâ€™s what happened,â€ said Mr Oâ€™Neill. Boher Community Development Association resumed activity in early 2011 and following much consultation, discussion and analysis of the requirements of the community, it was determined that the establishment of a focal point for residents of the area was essential.
â€œSince our last major fundraiser years ago we have quite a number of new people in to the parish and they are saying how do we get to know our neighbours? They are supporting us because they want to come to a central focal point and get to know their neighbours better,â€ he said.
As well as the draw - â‚¬20 a month for five months with a first prize of â‚¬1,000 per month - they also designed a calendar to bring in funds. The over 30 strong committee have organised a spring-clean of local roads; held a second annual fun day at Boher GAA field and are involved in a river walk project from Boher to Annacotty.
Work has commenced and they hope to have the community centre finished in September.
â€œThere is a long history of the station being a vital cog in the local community here in East Limerick and we want to bring it back to its formal glory,â€ said Mr Oâ€™Neill.