News » Archived News 2009

Douglas Street Education Services Centre and Residential Facility officially opened

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Brian Bermingham and Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe TD, officially opened the Education Services Centre and Residential Facility at 107/108, Douglas Street, Cork, on Tuesday, 2nd June 2009.

A joint initiative between Cork City Council and the City of Cork VEC, this is an exciting new development for adults returning to education and will assist adults participating in further education programmes provided by St. John’s Central College and/or other continuing education programmes in Cork city.

Speaking in advance of the official opening, the Lord Mayor said:   There has been an ongoing substantial demand for social housing across the entire city.  This scheme will provide much needed accommodation and will help to meet this demand. In addition to this, the development will secure the rehabilitation of an important inner city site which has been derelict for many years and will provide a valuable addition to the social infrastructure of the area.”

The City of Cork VEC is also delighted to be associated with the project:  Tom Daly, Education Officer, with the City of Cork VEC: “The provision of these additional facilities on the St John’s Central College Campus is practical proof of the partnership arrangements in place between the City of Cork VEC and Cork City Council in providing for the disparate needs of Cork city residents.

The Douglas Street Centre will facilitate greater access for those wishing to further their education, update their existing skills or for those who wish to avail of a “second-chance”, in educational terms.

The joint initiative is assisted with funding and support from the Department of Education & Science, the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government and Pobal.

 A Douglas St.pic workers june 2009
Representatives of companies involved with the project as well as Cork City Council Reps at the opening: L.to R: Brian Rynn O’Sheas Builders ( Cork ), John Lehane, O’Sheas Builders ( Cork ) Bryan Donoghue, Mott MacDonald Pettie

Additional information

Douglas Street  Education Services Centre and Residential Facility

 The newly built complex on 107/108 Douglas Street (the site of a former Post Office) includes:-

 (i) An Adult Education Services Centre for one-to-one and small group tuition – to complement facilities at St John’s Central College with Adult Basic Education Services provided by the VEC Adult Literacy Service/Altrusa.

 (ii) A Crèche/Childcare Facility for 50 children, whose parents are attending further education programmes at St John’s, the College of Commerce & other education & training facilities.

 (iii) Five (5) one-bedroom and five (5) two-bedroom apartments for adults in accommodation transition and who contract to attend an accredited education/training programme.  This Cork City Council facility is managed by the Sofia Housing Association.

 (iv) A Student Service Centre, with Student Welfare looking after disability services, crèche placements, links to accommodation provision, and so on.

The development of the Douglas Street Education Services Centre rehabilitates an important inner city site, which has been derelict for many years.  The façade of the former post office, a listed structure, has been sensitively incorporated into the new building.

The Douglas Street Education Services Centre makes a valuable contribution to the social infrastructure of the area by opening up and improving access to St John’s Central College Campus. The Centre is designed and built to the highest standards.

The provision of accommodation and the availability of child-care facilities means that on-site residents and other parents are being given a unique opportunity to avail of education and training opportunities.

The provision of these additional facilities ensures an increased focus on access for all to Continuing Education Programmes in the city. They provide flexibility and responsiveness for those wishing to further their education, update their existing skills or for those who wish to avail of a “second chance” in educational terms.

Sophia Housing Association

Mission Statement

Sophia Housing is a weaving of holistic support for marginalised people to enable them to become aware of their own inner strengths and potential, so that they may participate fully in society

The Vision

The vision of Sophia Housing Association is to have projects that will enable people to make positive differences in their lives, projects that will be secure, projects that will be innovative in providing growth for vulnerable women, men and children.

The Aims and Objectives

For this pilot project, the aim and objective is to support people who are at risk of homelessness or in homeless services to establish and maintain their home and sustain an education course. We will provide them with safe, secure accommodation with a low level of support while residents are taking part in education.

To fulfil our mission Sophia aims to create and strengthen healthy communities.  In our projects we will support residents to pursue educational and professional goals that can lead to employment, economic independence and more opportunities for their children.

Sophia will work alongside other Non-Profit organisations, Government Agencies, Health Care providers and local area Resource Groups to develop community based approaches to creating stable neighbourhoods and healthy communities.  

The Pilot Project at 107/108 Douglas Street

The new project at 107/108 Douglas Street will be a pilot project.  The need for this project was identified by Cork City Council and the Homeless Forum.  This pilot project contains ten apartments and office space for Sophia Housing Association.  There will be five two bedroom apartments, five one bed apartments (two of which are built for people with special needs).  The accommodation will be available to people who are taking part in education and in need of secure, supported accomodation. 

There will be a low level of support available to residents.  This will be given on a needs led basis.  Residents will have a License Agreement with Sophia housing association. 

There has been meetings to discuss referrals with the VEC. The Foyer, Liberty Street House, Cork Simon and the Good Shepherd Services have referred people from their projects.  This will free up places in other services. 

Further information is available from:

  • Ger Looney, Principal, St John’s Central College, tel: 021 4276410
  • Tom Daly, City of Cork VEC, tel: 021 4273377
  • Fiona Dinneen, Communications Liaison Officer, Housing & Community, Cork City Council, tel: 021 4924271


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