Kerry Food Hub provides production facilities for small food business. The four units of 1000 ft² each is finished to high-quality food grade standards. The Hub is a purpose built facility on a Greenfield site near Firies village. The building blends naturally into the environment, with the front designed to look like a house. During quarter four of 2016, four new businesses began operations.
The Food Hub board is a voluntary group of nine people, with various skills sets and knowledge, who came together over the last number of years to bring this project to fruition. Our aim is to make our local area a better place to live and work. Employment creation is a key element in this. We are an independent and not for profit community group. Any surplus funds generated will be reinvested in the facility and in other economic activities for the benefit of the local community.
Our hope is that other local people will see what can be achieved by an active community group, and will take inspiration from what our project has achieved. We also hope that others will be encouraged to bring forward innovative and enterprising ideas, and develop profit-making enterprises to enhance the local economy.
We made our first funding application in 2008. Construction on the Food Hub finally began in September 2014. During the intervening period we have learnt to work very well together. We trust and support each other, and we always focus on the common good of the local community.
The Kerry Food Hub is the first of its kind in Kerry. The facility provides the only purpose built small food production units in the county. The Hub is located in a village where virtually no employment opportunities exist. Since 2004 over 500 houses have been built in Firies Village. In 1998 our primary school had 52 pupils, now it has 400. Local economic development has not matched social development.
Our plan is that businesses in the Hub will create jobs, encourage up-skilling and promote food tourism. This will have a positive local impact. Jobs will bring more jobs. We will support our clients by actively helping them to promote their businesses using our individual and community networks and skills.
Our company is locally owned by the community and we are all volunteers. It took hundreds of hours of meetings and thousands of emails to bring this project to fruition. Our only objectives are to make our area better and create employment opportunities.
We gained vast experience while working with state, semi-state and community organisations, private companies and individuals. We learned how to source funding and other supports. We learned how to drive on when at times the outlook didn’t look good. We motivated each other.
We hope that our project will provide a model for other community enterprise initiatives.