The story of Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups began in 1988, when a Community Services Project (CSP) was established in conjunction with Dublin Corporation at Christchurch Place, enabling 18 small organisations to establish their headquarters there. One year later, the CSP was served with notice to leave. Kate O'Sullivan, an active member of one of the groups, An Oige Threitheach, led the response to the crisis, which culminated in a street protest with desks, chairs and typewriters on the road in Christchurch! As a result Rory O'Hanlon, then Minister for Health, requested the Eastern Health Board with Dublin Corporation and his own Department, to find the organisations suitable accommodation.
Thus in March 1990, the CSP moved into the former Doctor's Residence of the Richmond Hospital, called Carmichael House located on North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. Kate became chairperson of the new organisation Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups", which was officially opened in November 1990.
Demand for space continued, leading to the first renovation project, the Gate Lodge which opened beside Carmichael House in 1994. Thereafter, Dublin Corporation made an offer to use the former Linen Hall building, Coleraine House (on Coleraine Street), which was disused and in need of major repair. This fine listed building was then meticulously restored and opened for occupation in 2000. Next came a much needed repair and restoration of Carmichael House, also a listed building. An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern opened the refurbished Carmichael House on May 17th, 2004. As the Centre's first CEO, Kate O'Sullivan's diligence in sourcing funding for all of these projects was prodigious and included fund raising through the Good Friday Concert, in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
At its heart, Carmichael Centre's story is one that demonstrates the power of inspired leadership, passion to a cause and the social change that can result when people are willing to work together. From its pioneering founder members and Kate O'Sullivan its first CEO, to the current associates, members, board, volunteers, CEO, staff, CSP and Community Employment participants, Carmichael Centre continues to turn people's passion into change. In doing so, the centre continues to support community and voluntary groups so that they have the skills and knowledge to make a real difference in the lives of their members.