The mid-1980s brought renewed vigour. Rent restrictions had been lifted and income was gradually increasing, but more importantly, the Government was about to introduce various funding schemes for voluntary housing bodies that opened up the possibility of financing new development in addition to extensive regeneration and modernisation works.
In 1985, the Board committed to converting a disused wing of the Hostel into supported accommodation for older people. This would be the first element of an ambitious project to refurbish the entire Iveagh Hostel building. Frank Peard, a Trustee since 1981, posited the establishment of a Development Committee as a sub-group of the Board in 1986. The Long-Term Planning Committee was duly established and this proved to be a significant initiative as the Trust sought to take a more strategic approach to its affairs.
The LTPC, as it was known, set about charting the immediate development needs and a summary of the capital costs. Their report cogently set out the extent of the remedial works required to the Trust’s housing stock and laid bare the massive task at hand to rectify the situation.
The landscape was changing however and the development of new Government funding streams for what was an emerging voluntary housing sector, provided the Trust with a pathway to undertake a range of projects that would ultimately see the Trust’s buildings return to an appropriate standard and full occupation.
Work on what would become the Trust's second supported housing scheme for older people got underway in 1987. Disused Hostel cubicles were converted to 16 apartments as part of phase one, with a further 12 apartments added in subsequent years. Costing £375,000, phase one was financed largely through the Department of the Environment’s Capital Assistance Scheme for voluntary housing bodies.
On completion the building was named Moyne House to honour 60 years of continuous service as a Trustee by Bryan Walter Guinness, 2nd Lord Moyne, who had also donated generously to support the project.
A number of other major projects were set in train under the auspices of the Long-Term Planning Committee. The committee was reconstituted in 1988 as the General Purposes Committee (GPC) and placed on a permanent footing. The GPC could act with a degree of delegated authority from the Board and would meet more regularly to play an active role in the management and direction of the Iveagh Trust.
At Bull Alley, fifteen vacant dwellings with shared facilities were refurbished to create ten self-contained residential units. The cost of this work was £105,000 for which £39,500 was received from the Department of the Environment.
The Iveagh Hostel
The Hostel, originally set out in 508 cubicles, had seen better days. Throughout the 1980s, the number of residents continued to decline and sections of the building were gradually closed-off. The accommodation was no longer desirable enough, though there was no doubt that a level of demand was still there.
While work at Moyne House was nearing completion, Trustees decided on a complete overhaul for the remainder of the Hostel building that would convert all remaining cubicles at the Iveagh Hostel into private single rooms. A phased refurbishment programme for the Hostel commenced, costing £2 million, with an initial grant from the Department of the Environment of £1.5m. This was helped by generous donations received from a number of sources including £50,000 received from Lord Moyne and another £50,000 from Guinness Ireland, as well as £20,000 from People in Need. Residents would be afforded new levels of privacy and comfort and the refurbished Hostel building was officially opened in 1993.
Meanwhile, a major scheme was initiated at Kevin Street that would see the complete refurbishment of the oldest flats, blocks A-N, built between 1894 and 1901. Blocks L, M and N were the first to benefit – 52 self-contained modern apartments were created from 100 original flats. These flats had basic shared facilities and had become difficult to rent. The first phase of the scheme cost approximately £1m, 80% of which has been obtained from the Department of the Environment under the Capital Assistance Scheme.
Work continued at Kevin Street throughout much of the 1990s and significant improvements were also made to the public realm with new paved surfaces and landscaping. On 29th May 1997, President Mary Robinson officially opened the newly refurbished Kevin Street Estate. The entire community turned out to greet the President as Chairman Frank Peard welcomed her on behalf of the Iveagh Trust.