On 27 August 2020, the Board of Directors of ONE (Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel) approved a contract to develop a five-bedroom hostel in Cobh co-located with a Veteran Support Centre. This is ONE’s fourth hostel and is the penultimate step in its plan for a network of hostels nationwide providing sixty bedrooms for veterans who would otherwise be homeless.
A building on Harbour Row was identified by veterans in Cobh as a suitable location for the hostel. It was formerly a social welfare office and ONE has worked closely with the Office of Public Works to procure a long-term lease on the building.
The attached video by Dermot Higgins, a key driver of the project, clearly shows the condition of the building before works began. Cobh Veterans Hostel and Support Centre Video 1 – YouTube
ONE appointed Mr Eddie Mansworth from Cobh to design, plan, and manage the project.
Though not immediately apparent from the outside, the scale of the building can be appreciated from the front, rear and side elevations in the pictures below.
The ground floor, accessed through the entrance in the centre, incorporates a Veteran Support Centre, Resident’s Dining Room and Kitchen, Branch Offices, Counsellor’s Office and a House Manager’s Office.
The accommodation for veterans, accessed through a separate entrance on the right, is on the upper two floors. There will be three en-suite bedrooms together with a Day Room and a Laundry on the first floor, and a further two en-suite bedrooms on the top floor.
ONE appointed a local builder, Mr Anthony Stromsoe, to undertake the project. Anthony and his team commenced work in December 2020 by stripping back the existing structure.
The next phase is the insertion of a steel structure into the building which will support both the outer walls and the internal framework of the building. A recent video by Dermot Higgins provides a good indication of the progress made to date. Video 2
Further regular updates will be provided as the development progresses.
Brú na Farraige will cost of approximately €550,000 to complete. Fundraising for the project is ongoing and an application has been made for part funding to Cork County Council through the Capital Assistance Scheme. ONE acknowledges the support received from the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, the Department of Housing, Cork City County Council, the Department of Defence via the Dormant Accounts Fund, the Defence Forces Benevolent Fund, the Leopardstown Park Hospital Trust, the International Police Association Cycling Club and the ESB’s Energy for Generations Funds. Raising funds is challenging at the best of times but these difficulties have been exacerbated due to the impact of COVID-19. Any assistance would be deeply appreciated and can be made via https://www.one-veterans.org/fuchsia-appeal/