Downpatrick Social Security Office move

Downpatrick Social Security Office move

9 May 2018

DOWNPATRICK’S Social Security Office has moved to a new home.

The office has relocated from its Mount Crescent base to refurbished accommodation at Rathkeltair House in the town where jobs and benefits services are now housed under the one roof, following a £3m refurbishment programme.

The new office opened for business yesterday with the Department of Communities confirming the refurbishment initiative is part of a civil service-wide project which will see a number of government services from the Downpatrick area housed in new modern accommodation. 

Downpatrick Jobs and Benefits manager, Ashlin Sharvin, described the relocation as part of a long term project and said staff were excited at being able to provide services at one central site in the town.  

“The newly modernised interior is welcoming and bright and reflects the Department’s commitment to delivering an improved and quality service to our local customers in employment, benefits and welfare matters,” she said.

She said the move to Rathkeltair House ensured access to a new digital zone featuring computers and wifi access to provide all the support claimants need when Universal Credit is introduced in the Downpatrick area from next week.

She added: “We appreciate our customers’ patience during the refurbishment phase and look forward to  welcoming them to Rathkeltair House.”

The £3m refurbishment programme has been jointly funded by the Departments for Communities and Finance who provided £1.45m and £1.48m respectively.

The old Social Security Office at Mount Crescent is owned by the Department of Finance which is responsible for the strategic management of the central government office estate and which will decide its future use.

Downpatrick councillor Dermot Curran has welcomed the £3m investment at Rathkeltair House and views it as a further sign of the government’s commitment to the county town.

“The town has always been viewed as a centre of public service excellence and this latest investment will help copper fasten that,” he continued.

“Rathkeltair House is a prominent building and while it sadly lost a number of services over recent years, including DVLA and planning, it remains a significant civil service hub in Downpatrick. The fact Jobs and Benefits services are now under the one roof is important and should make life easier for staff and claimants.”

Cllr Curran said he will be interested to learn what plans are in store for the former Mount Crescent office which, he believed, could be put to a number of uses.