Community centre insurance costs ‘nearly doubles’ in 4 years
THERE are ongoing concerns about the rising costs of insurance for community centres as one local community centre say their insurance policy “has nearly doubled” over the last four years.
The future of a number of community centres and volunteer groups across the county are uncertain as they battle with a significant hike in insurance premiums.
South Dublin County Council addressed the issue at a recent council meeting when councillor Charlie O’Connor tabled the question about available supports and advice to “seriously concerned” community centre management.
Speaking with The Echo, Tony Condren, the recently elected new Chair of Kilnamanagh Family Recreation Centre said that they have experienced a rise in the cost of their insurance policy.
“At Kilnamanagh Family Recreation Centre we have experienced a rise in insurance costs so we had a meeting with the council to discuss it and see what the council could do – not pay the insurance but see if there was some sort of leverage,” said Tony.
“Our insurance in the last four years has nearly doubled in cost. A lot of people would say that we were getting reasonable figures four years ago which we probably were, but now it has increased somewhat, and it makes it more difficult to operate.”
When asked about the potential threat that the hike in insurance costs has to community centres, Tony said: “It hasn’t had any impact this year but if it was to continue at the rate it is going, we would have to look at whether we could keep the centre open or not.”
In their response to the question raised, the council confirmed that there “will be engagement” with local boards of management regarding the management, operations and challenges for community facilities as part of a review of community facilities management.
According to the council, this review will examine the operational capacity and sustainability factors which are affecting community facilities across the county and will inform a more “strategic approach” for funding and supporting community facility management in line with the increased provision in the council’s revenue budget.
The council noted that this support is intended to enhance governance and good practice for facilities but is not intended to provide funding for insurance or other operational costs.
The 2022 revenue budget provides a total of €1,502,800 for the maintenance, support, staffing and upkeep of community facilities, including €500,000 new funding for community centre management and governance initiatives.
Insurance premiums for community centres and voluntary groups have been on the rise for past number of years, with many having to limit the number of events held in the centres and adventure parks across the country have been forced to close their doors unable to pay the unsustainable costs.
The Alliance for Insurance Reform have previously called on Government to deliver on its promise on a general scheme to “to rebalance the duty of care laws” which the cabinet sub-group on Insurance reform confirmed they were working on in July 2021 but no timeline for publication has been given since.