The Donegal Youth Service has expressed an interest in buying the building that houses their county headquarters.
The DYS board revealed that they hope to purchase La Scala House on Port Road Letterkenny, which went up for sale in October.
The three-storey retail and office building on the site of the old ‘La Scala’ cinema has a €375,000 asking price with agents Sherry FitzGerald Rainey.
Thousands of young people in Donegal will be familiar with this building, which houses the Donegal Youth Service and The Loft on the second floor.
The organisation currently rents the second floor at a cost of €30,000 per annum. But the DYS board has always dreamt of expanding their space and opening a more accessible ground floor unit.
DYS Regional Director Lorraine Thompson says the opportunity has come to make a move and buy the entire building.
Ms Thompson told Donegal Daily: “We have maximised the space on the second floor. There are physical and mental barriers to young people who have to climb the stairs to access our services.
“We are now in a position to buy the building. We know there are others interested, but we have been here since 1981 servicing the needs of the community and we want to stay,” she said.
Almost 12,000 young people engaged with the Donegal Youth Service last year. DYS facilitates youth clubs, provides mental health supports to young people and their families, as well as various LGBTI, employment, and integration projects.
The terms of sale for La Scala House state that the DYS lease would remain unaffected.
However, Ms Thompson has expressed her fear that the centre would be “at the mercy of landlords” if the building changed hands.
Meanwhile, Donegal County Council has offered the DYS space in an upcoming resource centre on the outskirts of Letterkenny, but Ms Thompson said that the location will not be a good option.
She said: “We are looking to maintain our presence in the town centre. Ultimately the main street is where young people are. We have an open door policy and it’s a safe space for young people.
“It would be a huge opportunity for the organisation if we were to acquire the Port Road building. It has been on our radar for the past five years.”
Ms Thompson is calling for local support as the DYS moves to buy La Scala House. Their goal is to develop the needs of the community, she said, and staying in the town will help them realise this vision.Tags: