On Sunday 8th November, Johns College reopened its doors to the Waterford Public. This event took place between 1pm-4pm and gave the people of Waterford a glimpse of this fantastic project which has just been completed. Nearly 500 people visited on the day and the feedback from the public was heart warming.
Development includes 21 new apartments in the College itself, with a 10-bed group home and 36 new-build one-bed apartments adjoining the Folly. Respond also plans to open up a number of essential support services within Johns College including a Day Centre, Community Education Centre, Activation Room, Counselling Service and a Sensory Garden for Older People and people with specific needs and requirements. It is hoped that the first tenants will be offered their apartments by the end of November. Around the same time, a conference on loneliness and social isolation among Older People will take place in the Community Education Centre within the College in partnership with University College Cork.
According to Fr Patrick Cogan, ofm, of Respond Housing Association:
“We are delighted to be reopening the doors of Johns College again. The redevelopment of Johns College is great news for Waterford and will provide a sustainable community for Older People who wish to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The extra support services including the Day Centre, Activation Room and Community Education Centre will ensure that Older People remain active within their own community and this will help to counteract loneliness and social isolation”.
The total project costs of building John’s College came to €12 million. Some €8million of this was made available in State mortgages to Respond from Waterford City Council through the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The remaining €4million was provided by Respond of which some €2.25 million came in a private borrowing initiative from AIB Bank. Respond are now in the process of raising funds to kit out essential services such as the Day Centre, Community Education Centre and Activation Room.
According to Philip O’ Reilly of Respond Housing Association:
“Over the next number of months, Respond will be organising a number of key events to raise vital funds to equip the key support services within Johns College for the benefit of the whole community. We will be running a Dog Night in Kilcohan Greyhound Park on Saturday 5th December and would appeal to the people of Waterford to support this event and other upcoming events if possible.
Respond was founded in Waterford in 1981 by Franciscans and incorporated in 1982. To date, Respond has provided some 5,500 dwelling units for families, homeless and disabled persons, older persons and those in need, right across the country.
Posted: November 2015