FESTINA LENTE LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME AS LEASE NEARS AN END
CENTRE’S LEASE RUNS OUT IN TWO YEAR AND WILL NOT BE RENEWED
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.