A large crowd turned out in Carrigart on Saturday afternoon for the official launch of the new Sheephaven Credit Union headquarters.
Guest of honour to perform the cutting of the ribbon was Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Joe McHugh TD.
Master of Ceremonies for the occasion was Sheephaven Credit Union president Richard Hunter who welcomed everyone to the opening and told the 300 hundred strong crowd how the origins of the new state-of-the-art centre were sown over 25 years ago when the group was formed.
“This story all began from very humble beginnings away back in November 1991 with a study group of 27 people who met for training one night per week over a period of time, before they opened to the public in July 1992 using four national schools within the common bond as collection centres. In 1995 we purchased a site here in Carrigart in which we constructed a purpose built office that opened its doors in January 1997.”
He highlighted that by this time the Credit Union were approached by groups in the Creeslough area who expressed an interest in joining and they eventually covered the common bond to cover the Creeslough and Dunfanaghy area. They eventually opened a new purpose built premises in Creeslough in 2006 but now the focus was back, once again, in Carrigart, where it all began.
“Now, for the third time the story of Sheephaven Credit Union continues and brings us back here again to Carrigart to the exact same spot where our first public meeting took place, to open a more spacious and beautiful office due to the huge growth of business being experienced by Sheephaven Credit Union”, he added.
Their old office building in the village is now being leased by a local solicitors firm.
He then invited former long serving director and former Vice -President of the group, Francis Robert to say a few words.
He then invited clergy representatives Fr Charlie Byrne and Rev. Andrew Watson to say a few words.
Richard then thanked the architect Francis McHugh and contractor Kelly and Sons for all their hard work on the project.
He thanked the members of the local Tidy towns committee, especially those who planted flowers along the centres carpark walls and extended thanks to all who helped out on this historic day, including board members, centre manger John McBride and all local businesses and suppliers who supported the event.
Minister Joe McHugh said it was a great occasion in the history of the Credit Union and highlighted the important role such facilities have in the community.
He said such institutions were important for local people to be able conduct face-to-face financial transactions within their own localities and added Credit Unions challenging conventional banking in some areas.
This was followed a reception with entertainment, characters from “Frozen” and a bouncy castle.
A draw for five spot prises of €50 also took place.