PLANS TO convert a derelict house and stables into accommodation for young homeless people in Kildare are well underway.
The disused house and stables at Jigginstown, on the outskirts of Naas, will be transformed into a residential and training facility aimed at helping with the transition from state care to independent living in the community. Behind the project is Homeless Care CLG, a charity set up by a group of businessmen in Naas.
After listening to a local social worker on the radio in 2014 speaking about the extent of homelessness in the town, the group set up the charity with a view to buying a suitable property and converting it. The aim is that the facility will provide care and training services for young people, aged 18-30 years, who have been in state care and now find themselves homeless.
In June 2015, the group received charitable status and approved housing status and they identified a suitable property and applied for funding assistance. The Jigginstown house and stables consists of an old farmhouse and outhouses on around six acres at the Bundle of Sticks.
The sale closed in September 2016 and a multidisciplinary design and project management team was appointed later in the year. The design consists of 12 studio apartments of 40sqm each in the outbuildings, while the farmhouse, which is around 180sqm, will be developed into two accommodation units for social workers, a reception, meeting rooms, a communal room and an extended kitchen.
Plans were submitted in 2017 and in May of this year they were given the thumbs-up by Kildare County Council.
“The design team now has prepared detailed design documents and has prequalified contractors for inclusion on the tender list, with tenders due in before Christmas,” said spokesperson for the group John Cradock. “A contractor will be appointed early in the new year with a target for completion of works in November 2019.
“The company will grant a licence to an established homeless care charity for the management and running of the facility and have engaged in discussions with four potential licensee candidates over the past year, each of whom are keen to work with HC-CLG.”
A lot of work is needed on the building: the entire roof needs to be replaced and the interior needs a complete overhaul.
“It would be a shame to change the characteristic of the building so that’s not the plan,” he said. “A fair bit of money will be spent on making it suitable.”
The charity has received support from the department of housing and Kildare County Council but most of the funding has been raised by the group themselves and the local community through fundraisers such as golf classics, art raffles, concerts and more. The Nás Na Rí singers will hold a concert for the project in Our Lady and St David’s Church on 18 December.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the support,” he added.