In November 2017, we took delivery of our first ever dedicated Masamba vehicle, in the form of a little Peugeot Expert. It was end of a long process of funding applications and after applying to several different agencies, it was the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs through the Dormant Accounts fund, that saw our need and granted the cash to get us on the road.
Even though we bought the van in November, it was January before we were fully able to utilise it, as we quickly found that Irish insurance companies have little interest in charities. We were quoted over €6000 to put the van on the road! Luckily, the guys at the Intersure brokerage in Drogheda hunted around and managed to get us a much more realistic price.
Since then, there has been no looking back! We were already in the process of moving out of our HQ in Bow Lane West, and the van was immediately in use every day, both supporting that process, and out doing the regular activities of workshops and gigs. In fact, the van was so busy, that it literally took us months to get it back into the dealership to get some of the non-standard features such as high-security locks and reversing sensors fitted.
Also, we must say a big thank-you to Jeff and the guys at Horizon Digital Print for creating amazing decals for us 100% free of charge.
Over the year, we have travelled to Dunmore East, Drogheda, Dundalk, Clones, Limerick, Newbridge, Ashbourne, Trim, Carnew, Greystones, Belfast, and to every nook and cranny of Dublin and its immediate surroundings. Not all of this work would have been possible without the van.
In addition, as we have yet to find premises that combines all of our activities, we are currently operating out of four different buildings, between North Strand (office), Mountjoy Square (rehearsals), the Liberties (Youth Project) and Skerries (storage) – without the van, it would be impossible to operate at the moment.
Thanks again to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Horizon Digital Print and Mongey Plunkett Motors, for making a long-held dream a reality.