Community centre under threat with insurance hike

By Mary Dennehy

THE future of the Killinarden Community Centre is under threat, after the valuable local facility experienced a 32 per cent hike in its insurance premium this year.

This week, centre manager Hilda Hamilton spoke of the community centre’s struggle in paying for insurance, which has jumped from €18,000 in 2017 to €26,000 in 2018, with this year’s premium weighing in at €34,500.

Hilda Hamilton CREDIT Aidan ONeill 2 compressor

Hilda Hamilton, manager

Speaking with The Echo, Ms Hamilton said that the centre has paid €25.000 of this year’s €34,500 premium, and that they hope to be able to pay the rest off over the coming months.

However, paying this high amount is not possible for the community centre when its policy renews next July.

“We were devastated when the insurance was €26,000 but we managed to pay it and plod along. . .  and then we get a premium of €34,500,” Ms Hamilton said.

“I don’t think paying €34,000 for insurance is moral, it’s highly immoral for the community service we provide.

“There should be different types of insurance schemes for community centres and not-for-profit groups.

“If we were to close, it’s the people living in the community that suffer . . . this centre is vital to this community.”

With a large daily footfall, the Killinarden Community Centre provides a range of free community activities for all ages, including nightly programmes for the area’s younger residents.

The vibrant centre, which is over 30 years old, also provides community development programmes and is a hub for health and local information services.

According to Ms Hamilton, the centre doesn’t have a lot of rental groups using the centre, with birthday parties and fundraising helping to generate income.

Ms Hamilton has appealed to any members of the community who would like to support them in their fundraising efforts or who have any ideas to come forward.

Local businesses in a position to help are also invited to make contact.

The Killinarden Community Centre, which is run by an independent management company, is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, with support from South Dublin County Council.

When contacted by The Echo, a spokesperson for South Dublin County Council said: “The council is working with the company to assist them to resolve their increased insurance costs arising from their activities.

“Killinarden Community Centre receives annual support from the council via the council’s Community Centre Management Assistance Grant.

“This year a grant of €6,000 was paid to the centre, the maximum grant amount available.

“This was made available early to offset some of the insurance costs.

“The Community Department have also provided assistance in implementing a risk assessment and Health & Safety statement as well as providing funding towards replacement fire doors and other items which were identified in the risk assessment.”

The council added that a fund of €95,164 was approved by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the centre this year, with the council providing €1,100 for three centre-based community events and €8,250 to assist management with a CCTV upgrade.

While acknowledging support from the Department and council, Ms Hamilton, who has been involved with the centre since it opened in 1987 and manager since 2004, said: “The big issue here is insurance . . . a huge question needs to be asked of insurance companies”.

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