The 'Café Fía' project involves the ongoing development of a community café in Coolaney, County Sligo, a rural village (of 1500 inhabitants) with relatively few facilities and a limited retail offering. To address the need for a café or restaurant as a social meeting place accessible to all, the community established a volunteer-led ‘pop up’ café which was provided on a part time basis in the local community centre. As a social enterprise, the aim of the café is also to address rural isolation by providing residents with social engagement.
Sligo County Council through its involvement in the SARURE Project has come to recognise the value of investment in community led retailing as an alternative method of providing services in rural areas. This type of model is particularly important in locations where the market is not providing vital rural retailing services. In this context, the council has taken steps to both provide and to enable significant investment in the Café Fía project via the construction of a purpose designed building to house the café in the village centre, on community owned lands.
A registered co-operative body, Coolaney Community Café Co-Operative Ltd., was established with the intention of developing and running the cafe. To this end Sligo County Council and the community of Coolaney have together secured funding through a mix of the Town & Village Renewal Scheme and the LEADER Programme to enable the development the cafe as a community asset. A significant funding allocation of ca. €400,000 was committed to the project and the Café is currently under construction. Sligo County Council is delighted with progress on the project to date and is looking forward to the anticipated post covid-19 launch of this wonderful community facility later in the summer.