Symbolising the potential of urban regeneration

Set in the middle of a run-down district of Dublin, Ballymun Arts and Community Centre is an architecturally striking building, which has become a symbol of the potential of urban regeneration.

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This was a flagship project for the URBAN I programme in Ireland, which focused on the districts of Ballmun, Finglas and Darndale in North Dublin, West Tallaght and Clondalkin in South-West Dublin and on the north side of Cork. An integrated programme, it involved a balanced and coherent set of economic development, social integration and environmental measures based on local partnership proposals. The main objectives of the programme were: to facilitate the participation of deprived members of the target communities in education and training; to support enterprise development and ensure the progression of those trained into employment; to ensure the provision of community infrastructure such as sports and leisure facilities; and finally, to promote dynamic and self-reliant communities in a visibly improved physical environment. The eligible parts of Dublin contained 198 500 inhabitants, while the total population of the eligible area of Cork amounted to 55 600. The total cost of the programme was EUR 28 million, which included an EU contribution of EUR 21 million. One of the most significant projects in the Dublin part of the programme was the Ballymun Arts and Community Centre. This project involved the construction of a multi-functional arts and community resource centre, with a 240 seat theatre and conference centre, a crèche catering for 34 children, a café/bar, recording and dance studios, and offices and training rooms which could be leased to local voluntary groups. The centre now provides 26 permanent jobs for the local community. It is located in the Ballymun district of Dublin and provides social, arts and recreational facilities for a community who were previously deprived of access to such facilities. The project thus provided a major confidence boost for the community and created a physical focus for the regeneration effort. The building has become a flagship development for the regeneration of Ballymun.

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