Bray People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

FESTINA Lente is look­ing for a new home as its lease is com­ing to an end in two years.

How­ever, if they haven’t found any­where within that time, they will be able to ex­tend for a fur­ther five years.

They have been at the prop­erty they are cur­rently work­ing for al­most 30 years and face a huge task in look­ing for a new lo­ca­tion.

CEO Jill Carey said that they em­ploy 30 staff and con­trib­ute a great deal there­fore to the lo­cal econ­omy. They also sup­port many hun­dreds of res­i­dents of the north Wick­low and south Dublin area. The lands around the fa­cil­ity are owned by Chris­tian Broth­ers, while a pri­vate ci­ti­zen owns the core area. Festina Lente it­self owns an acre at the car park, which they hope to use to raise money.

They pay €85,000 per year in rent and would look to­wards buy­ing their new fa­cil­ity. They have a cash re­serve pol­icy also.

The eques­trian cen­tre and gar­dens, cur­rently lo­cated on Old Con­naught Road, pro­vides a range of train­ing and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple whose needs have not been met in main­stream ser­vices.

The eques­trian cen­tre of­fers lessons, camps, equine as­sisted pro­grammes, ther­a­peu­tic rid­ing, and Saol Anois for adults with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties.

The Vic­to­rian walled gar­den in­cludes sea­sonal events, work­shops and par­ties, as well as a gar­den cen­tre, cafe and shop.

‘We are hop­ing to find some­thing as soon as pos­si­ble,’ said a spokes­woman in a state­ment. ‘If at the end of the two years we still have not found a new lo­ca­tion we will have the lease ex­tended by five years, but this will only hap­pen if we do not find any­where. So we are re­ally un­der pres­sure!’

The Festina Lente Founda- tion wants to do this with as lit­tle im­pact to their ser­vice users as pos­si­ble.

They are hav­ing a strate­gic planning week this week and will be en­gag­ing with all stake­hold­ers. They have also at­tended a meet­ing of Bray Mu­nic­i­pal District and will meet Dun Laoghaire-Rath­down too. Dur­ing this week, they will speak to a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of all those who avail of or sup­port the ser­vices pro­vided by Festina Lente and will meet dif­fer­ent groups through­out the week. In each meet­ing they will give a brief over­view of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its ser­vices, and an out­line of the sit­u­a­tion.

They will ask each group to con­trib­ute to cre­at­ing a vi­sion for the fu­ture. The ques­tions will in­clude look­ing at what they value about Festina Lente, a wishlist for the fu­ture, and what they would like to see in place in the fu­ture.

From the feed­back, they will find some way of de­vel­op­ing a con­sen­sus on what is of most im­por­tance to peo­ple. ‘We be­lieve it is very im­por­tant to in­clude every­one in this new move,’ said the spokes­woman.

Jayne O’Ke­effe takes notes at one of the con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings for Festina Lente, fa­cil­i­atated by Co­lette O’Re­gan from Part­ners TFT, as they pre­pare for the fu­ture.

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