Portlaoise community centre in financial loss is at 'high risk' of closure

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Portlaoise community centre in financial loss is at 'high risk' of closure

A Portlaoise community centre that has recorded financial losses due to Covid-19 restrictions, has been classed as at "high risk" of closure.

The Treo Nua family resource centre company serves the highly populated Knockmay community in Portlaoise.

A risk assessment was carried out on Treo Nua Ltd, an associated company of Laois County Council.

It showed losses of €34,000 in the 2019 financial year.

“Given the scale of the 2019 loss, the risk rating must be viewed as high until such time as fully audited accounts in a normal year (post Covid) show a return to at least break-even,” assessors said.

The report was given at the March meeting of Laois County Council.

Portlaoise Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley gave her reaction.

“I am very sad to hear this. It was run extremely well. Financially it was in a very secure position before Covid. I can’t emphasise enough haw important that facility is for the area. It provides huge family support, and supporting them to operate is vital,” she said.

Treo Nua was closed on March 16 2020, reopening on June 29. As several tenants in the centre are providing an essential service, it has remained open since.

However the usual income from meeting room bookings is gone. 

“Income and activity have been affected during the pandemic, reflected in the financial figures. However management is confident that they can increase income and activity again once restrictions lift. They have confirmed that they have had positive engagement and numerous enquiries about using the facilities as soon as it is safe and acceptable” the assessment said.

In the future the risk rating is expected to lessen.

“The centre will be trying to accommodate as many bookings as possible while adhering to social distance guidelines (this may be problematic for larger groups). While the Covid pandemic has affected the way in which the business model will work in future it is considered the risk to the company and its mission will be low to medium, with continued support from Pobal,” the report found.

They said that “historically Treo Nua has been well managed financially, and the company had built up reserves against unanticipated shocks.

“However for the 2019 financial year, the company suffered a loss in excess of €34,000. While the company held reserves to withstand this loss, there is evidence that its cost base has increased without a corresponding increase in income sources”.

Treo Nua on Harpur’s Lane in Portlaoise is a recently built community facility with training rooms, meeting rooms, a community hall, IT Room, access to the HSE Primary Health Care clinic. It is also home to Portlaoise Family Resource Centre and has a creche and café.

All six of Laois County Council’s associated companies were assessed. The Laois Arts Theatre company is at medium risk. Portlaoise enterprise centres is at low risk. Portarlington enterprise centre is at medium risk. The Portlaoise Innovation Centre DAC (The Cube) is at medium risk. Portarlington Leisure Centre is at very high risk. The Portlaoise leisure centre company shut down last June over lack of funds and so was not assessed.