27/10/2023. Official opening of WCQ Place, Community and Cultural Hub. Pictured are Dr. Karina Daly WWETB, Katherine Collins WCCC, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Conway, Emma Haran WCCC and Anne Nolan Waterford Integration Services. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Official opening of WCQ Place, Community and Cultural Hub, O’Connell Street, Waterford

 On Friday morning 27th October 2023 the Mayor of Waterford City and County, Councillor Joe Conway, officially opened Waterford Cultural Quarter Place: Community and Cultural Hub. WCQ Place, 17 – 18 O’Connell Street, Waterford is a newly renovated ground floor unit which houses the services of Waterford Integration Services (WIS) and provides space for a range of language classes and community outreach services of Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB).

Developed by Waterford City and County Council with funding from the national Project 2040 Urban Regeneration Development Fund, WCQ Place is a multi-purpose space and plans to provide flexible access to community groups, agencies and cultural and creative performance during evenings and weekends from early 2024 through an online booking system. This project is one of several in the pipeline for the Cultural Quarter in the O’Connell Street area, which will include redevelopment of the “Munster Express” building on Hanover Street.

Artist Riham Babikr spoke about an exhibition of her work shown at the event and described the inspiration for her art. Keteryna Tytar introduced Ukrainian musicians Lilia Bagriy, bandura player and Irina Sanahurska, violinist, both performed at the opening. DJ Sunday Olaleye provided entertainment for the attendees and a range of crafts created by the Anna from Darblin Sea Crafts were exhibited under one of the bright new WCQ Market stalls which will be on show during Winterval in Hanover Street.

“It is very fitting that the first regeneration project under Project 2040 in the Cultural Quarter is space that celebrates community and culture, the two key elements of redeveloping the O’Connell Street area. This is a wonderfully diverse neighbourhood made up of people from different cultures, bringing value and creativity to Waterford. I look forward to seeing how the story of WCQ Place develops and knits itself into the fabric of the area” said Katherine Collins, Waterford Cultural Quarter Project Manager.

Commenting on the official opening of the building, Anne Nolan of Waterford Integration Services said “we are delighted to be the first tenants in this exciting new premises. We have been working closely with Waterford Cultural Quarter, Waterford City and County Council and other community actors to secure the space as anchor tenant to celebrate the diversity, equity and inclusion of cultures in their new home in Waterford. We look forward to meeting with you all soon to collaborate on making this the most vibrant and colourful venue in the region. We thank all the residents and businesses for their warm welcome to O’Connell Street.”

Dr Deborah Butler, Community Education Facilitator with WWETB said “WWETB are grateful to be part of this project and to see this community space officially opening today. Our hope is that many of our community groups will avail of the space to gather and connect, to do things together and pursue shared interests and activities in areas such as language classes, music, drama and art.”



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