The Glens Centre celebrates 20 years as unique community venue
22 December 2015
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The Glens Centre is an arts and performance venue and community space housed in a converted church in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim.

 

On Saturday 5th December the venue celebrated its 20th anniversary with a reception for its founding members, volunteers, partners and the general public, followed by an evening of musical performances. The celebrations also saw the unveiling of an illustration by local artist Annie West, commissioned by the Glens for the anniversary and featured a slide show of the venue over the past 20 years.
Due to Storm Desmond, special guest Ms Marian Harkin MEP, one of the original founding members of the Centre was stranded in Lisbon, but despite the weather there was a full house for the event.

A unique venue, the Centre hosts a wide ranging programme including the best of contemporary, world, traditional, folk and jazz music as well as theatre, readings, and world cinema. In addition, the Centre also houses recording facilities and self-catering accommodation for visiting performers.

 

The Glens Centre has a strong community focus, hosting many local groups in the facility. These include an ‘Active Age’ group and various youth programmes including ‘Leitrim Youth Theatre’ and ‘The Glens Rock School’. It runs educational programmes, such as ‘Glens Schools Drama’ and ‘Shakespeare Live for Schools’, as well as hosting school shows, amateur and professional drama, lectures, talks, panel discussions, fundraisers and festivals including ‘Éigse Chluainín’ and ‘The Five Glens Festival’.

 

The facility is funded through donations and via Government and Local-government agencies including the Arts Council, Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Development Company, and Leitrim Development Board, as well as small project funding.

Crucial to ensuring the ongoing viability of the Centre is the Community Services Programme (CSP) which Pobal manages.
The Centre was first approved for a CSP grant in 2006 and is currently funded for a manager and three and a half full-time-equivalent staff salaries through the programme.

Manager Georgina Meehan said: “The funding the Centre receives through the Community Services Programme ensures that the venue is efficiently run and is available for use by the local community as much as possible. It has the direct impact of employing six local people, which enables the venue to support artists/ musicians/ performers/writers etc. in the development, showcasing and recording of their work, as well as employing tutors and facilitators for our various programmes
 
‘The Electric Noodles’ performing at The Glens Rock School. Photo © Amandine LeSergent

 

Pobal’s CEO Denis Leamy said: “Pobal congratulates The Glens Centre on their 20th anniversary as a venue and community facility. We are delighted to have been able to support the ongoing running of the center via the Community Services Programme which we manage on behalf of the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Pobal staff provide ongoing support for the social enterprises funded through CSP by appraising applications and re-contracting submissions and reviewing financial returns and business plans.

The Community Services Programme is funded by the Department of Social Protection and provides grants to approximately 400 community businesses that deliver services and create employment for people from disadvantaged groups. It also aims to ensure that the benefits from public investment in community amenities or facilities, such as The Glens Centre are fully realised.