Disability centre told to leave Ballyfin

Charity Bad news for No Limits centre, but hopes high of finding new home

Disability centre told to leave Ballyfin
By Lynda Kiernan lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

A volunteer run disability centre that has gained a top reputation for care of children and adults with special needs, must leave its Ballyfin home by June 30.

The directors of the No Limits disbility centre do not know why Ballyfin Community Development Association has told them to vacate the Old School, but they are determined to find new premises and carry on.

Director Darren Bayliss teaches a Back to Work club for No Limits, as well as running Laois Coderdojo in the same building.

“We were told last September that the parish wanted it back, to be a centre of excellence for them. I have no idea what went wrong, there has been a lack of communication.

“ I want to see this as a positive move. We got a good start in Ballyfin, and we are grateful to the community for supporting us. Now we will move forward and take No Limits to the next level,” he said.

The old school, owned by Ballyfin parish, was renovated using a €150,000 Laois Partnership grant, a parish loan and €100,000 fundraised in the community. It opened in 2014, provided rent free to No Limits by the CDA, on a verbal agreement only.

No Limits now caters for about 250 people a week, including the Coderdojo club, afterschools clubs, respite, therapy, training, art, social and lifeskills classes for children and adults with sensory or intellectual special needs, with all 15 expert staff volunteering the ir time, and only class tutors paid, through the course fees.

It costs the charity about €12,000 to run and heat the building.

Volunteer Project manager is Nicola Coss.

“We offer a unique service to people aged from 2 to 92, of all abilities, and organisations come from as far as Wexford to us.

“We see the difference it makes both to children and their families, they gain confidence and social skills.

“We had two fantastic years here, this building is like our work home, and it will be hard for the children to adjust to a new place, it's just a pity,” she said.

While they hold out hope of resolving issues, they plan to reopen No Limits in Portlaoise, with an afterschool service in Mountrath.

However they will face rents of up to €30,000 a year.

“We need government support to get CE staff in order to offer courses to pay the rent,” Ms Coss explains.

The future use of the Old Schoolhouse is unknown. Both BCDA Chair Michael Burke, and PP Fr Pat Hennessy, declined to comment.