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Murphy’s on Main Street Opens to the Local Community

21 November 2023
Northern Ireland

Following an official launch event on Friday, Murphy’s on Main Street has become the latest of four Village Catalyst pilot projects to open its doors to the local community.

The Village Catalyst scheme is a partnership initiative between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Department for Communities (DfC), the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). It tackles rural poverty and social isolation by refurbishing derelict historic buildings for uses which provide access to services and address core needs in small rural communities.

Dating back to around 1840, the Murphy’s on Main Street building was originally a café and shop that historically formed an important gathering place for the small rural village of Ederney. Having lain vacant since the late 1990s, however, the listed building, along with its local significance, was deemed at risk of being lost.

Following redevelopment by Ederney Community Development Trust, Murphy’s on Main Street has now returned to its former glory as the centre of the local community. Alongside the downstairs Tearooms, the restored building also provides intimate working or meeting spaces upstairs. The original outbuilding at the rear has been retained, partly reconstructed, and extended to provide bright, quiet, wellbeing spaces away from the main street, as well as an event space. The property also provides an informal courtyard and garden space, further enhancing the building’s new offer.

The AHF is delighted to have supported the regeneration of Murphy’s on Main Street from the outset of the project, funding early-stage viability and development work that subsequently enabled the Trust to secure investment from the Village Catalyst pilot.

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said:

“We are proud to have worked closely with Ederney Community Development Trust from the beginning of their project to help create this fantastic new asset, one which addresses key local needs and is helping bring life back to the heart of this village.”

To learn more about Village Catalyst, including the funding currently available through the scheme, please visit our Northern Ireland Grants Page.

If you would like to hear more about the Murphy's on Main Street project from the persective of the local people who made it happen, read this BBC News NI feature

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