Plans to fill ‘void’ left by closure of Corcrain Community Centre

Floral tributes left for Caitlin White (Shortland) at Corcrain woodland.
Floral tributes left for Caitlin White (Shortland) at Corcrain woodland.

The sale of Corcrain Community Centre five years ago has left a void in the area which the council needs to act quickly to fill, a youth and community worker has said.

Campbell Best, who runs the Y-Zone outreach group, said the recent death of Caitlin White (Shortland) in the estate’s woodland area had brought the situation to a head.

Mr Best said, “The Corcrain/Redmanville area is the biggest PUL (Protestant, unionist,loyalist) area in Portadown, yet when the council closed the community centre they put nothing back in its place.

“Since then the council has had ample time to do something for the residents but the area has been neglected.”

Last week, the Y-Zone lodged a proposal with the council for at least three shipping containers, measuring 30ft long by 10ft wide, to be bought and positioned on the gravel pitch.

He said, “The idea is that they would double up as a place for adults to use during the day - we hope to run an allotment scheme and cookery classes using the produce we grow - and in the evening, it would serve as a youth hut.

“The young people would get involved in setting it up.

“Between ourselves, the YMCA, Regenerate and Corcrain and Redmanville Community Partnership (CRCP), we would have the resources to man it.”

Mr Best said a bid by CRCP to convert two shops on the estate into a community space had faced repeated problems and that further delays were unacceptable.

He added, “This isn’t about apportioning blame. It’s about everyone working together and getting something done.

“This would be the first scheme of its type in the province and could be used as an example of good practice in other places.”

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said they were “considering a response”.