The Mayor of South Dublin County joined members of Irish Girl Guides from around the country on the 14th of October to mark the official opening of their new offices, training centre, and multipurpose facility on Belgard Square. Irish Girl Guides purchased the building in 2019 and due to the impact of Covid, Brexit and increased construction costs, the staff and volunteers could only occupy the purpose-designed building over the summer. Irish Girl Guides is an eco-conscious youth movement and Mayor Alan Edge acknowledged the shared ethos of the Girl Guides and SDCC in refurbishing older buildings and embracing sustainability. Backed by a visual display of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the ceremony involved youth members from Galway, Kildare, and Louth. Together with the Mayor, they officiated at the official ‘ribbon-cutting’ along with the CEO of the Irish Girl Guides Lorraine Mackey McHugh and the organisation’s Chief Commissioner, Amanda O’Sullivan.
From a blank canvas, the Guides have created a multipurpose hub that will further the organisation’s impact and help fulfil its mission of enabling girls and young women to become responsible citizens of the world for generations to come. This facility is now home to the nationwide organisation and also offers local like-minded community and voluntary groups the use of training rooms. This includes meeting and conference rooms, training areas, a STEM hub, the Guide Shop, and a canteen area, with plans to expand and add additional spaces in the future.
Mayor Alan Edge, Mayor and first Citizen of South Dublin and a member of the South Dublin County Council (SDCC), warmly welcomed Irish Girl Guides to its new home. “Your organisation has a long, proud, and rich history of volunteering,” he said. He stressed the importance of volunteerism to community building in SDCC and how beneficial to the area it is to take an existing building and refurbish and restore it to good and active use. “We are delighted to have you here,” Mayor Edge said.
Amanda O’Sullivan, Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Commissioner as well as a resident of South Dublin, explained how IGG can be strengthened from our base in Tallaght. “We now have a home that can grow and change with our needs and the needs of our members,” she said. “This building truly represents the Guiding spirit and stands as a testament to the strength of Irish Girl Guides.”
A three-year fundraising campaign enabled the project to proceed and Helen Concannon, the Chair of the National Training Centre Committee took the opportunity to thank the committee involved in the centre’s development. “Thank you to all who took part in making this dream a reality,” she said, citing the many volunteers and donors who held fundraisers, made personal donations, and sponsored LEGO blocks, as well as the grants received from the Dept. of Transport, Tourism and Sport; the Dept. of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; the Albert Gubay Foundation; the Katharine Howard Foundation; Dublin Bus Community Spirit Initiative; and South Dublin County Council.
“Through your generosity, we can empower this generation of girls and young women, as well as the next,” Concannon said. “We hope the facility will be of use also to other groups in the community.”
If interested in renting the facility, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Irish Girl Guides welcomes members from age 5+ and volunteer Leaders from age 18+. To find out more, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or tel: 01 6683898.