Get Involved Winner Announced

Limerick Community Grocery takes first place and €5,000 bursary at Get Involved Awards

February 26th 2015 – Limerick Community Grocery, a project developed in association with the Limerick Leader newspaper, has won first place at the Get Involved Awards, it was announced today.

The Get Involved Awards is the focal point for the Get Involved project, a sustainable community initiative and competition established by two local newspaper associations, NNI Local and Local Ireland, which between them represent 51 local newspapers with a combined readership of 1.65 million people. Get Involved is sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Prize money shared between four projects

22 projects from 18 counties completed the Get Involved competition. Projects included food cooperatives, energy cooperatives, biodiversity initiatives and urban renewals, amongst others. Four winners shared a total prize bursary of €7,000.

As the winning project, Limerick Community Grocery was awarded a bursary of €5,000. The project involved the establishment of Limerick’s first co-operative grocery, which is owned, controlled and operated by the local community.

Second place, with a bursary of €1,000, went to Energy Communities Tipperary in association with the Nenagh Guardian newspaper.

Third place (€500 each) was shared between Transition Kerry, in association with The Kerryman newspaper and the Abbeyleix Bog Project (ABP), in association with the Laois Nationalist newspaper.

“Get Involved is a fantastic initiative that encourages communities all over Ireland to create livelihoods and foster sustainable, independent and green futures for themselves. The quality of projects this year gives me great hope that Irish communities large and small can become independent in terms of their food, energy and economic needs. I hope that this year’s winners will inspire people all over our island to ‘get involved‘ and take ownership of their own destinies,” said Duncan Stewart, chairman of the judging panel, speaking at the event.

More than an awards ceremony

The awards were presented by Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI at an event held in the Radisson Hotel, Athlone.  Dr Motherway commented “We are delighted to support this excellent initiative which recognises the tireless efforts of community groups and their champions. It’s particularly good to see that energy has become a key issue for communities that are acting together to become more self-sufficient and sustainable.”

Aside from the announcement of winners, the event involved a lively workshop for prospective entrants to the 2015 competition and a series of presentations by speakers including Anja Murray; Davie Philips; and Ruth Buggie of SEAI.

Get Involved 2015

2015 will mark the third year in which people throughout Ireland will come together around Get Involved to create sustainable futures for their local communities. As the initiative grows and develops, it will focus more specifically on local green economy issues and projects through which people collaborate to take ownership of their local environs.

Ultimately, the organisers of Get Involved hope that the initiative will generate a positive transformation of local networks that will make Ireland’s local communities more resilient and enable them to flourish.

Prospective entrants can find out more about the competition at get-involved.ie

Notes for Editors:

Limerick Community Grocery in association with the Limerick Leader (first place) 

Limerick Community Grocery aims to be a successful co-operative that supplies good produce and enhances the lives of its members, customers, and the community, while contributing to a more sustainable and fairer world.

In its mission statement it states that it wishes to be successful not just in Limerick, but to serve as a model for the development of urban co-operatives in the mid-west and further afield.

In addition, it hopes to be a great place for people to meet others who care about keeping food local and building local and sustainable initiatives.

The business is guided by the Principles of Cooperatives to ensure that everything it does benefits its members and the wider community.

There are two ways in which people can join the Limerick Community Grocery, either as a community member, which enables them to shop with the grocery; or as a cooperative member, which allows for additional involvement through attendance at meetings, voting rights and involvement in the running of the business.

The coop shop is now open three days a week and orders can also be made online, for collection on Fridays and Saturdays. The coop also runs workshops and seminars on food-related topics.

For further information see limerickcommunitygrocery.com

Energy Communities Tipperary in association with the Nenagh Guardian (second place)

Energy Communities Tipperary is a local community-run energy retrofit scheme. The scheme was initiated and has run in certain parishes in North Tipperary since 2010. In 2014, for the Get Involved project, energy efficiency upgrades were undertaken on 119 homes and two community buildings across four parishes.

North Tipperary Leader Partnership (NTLP) has been involved with this project since the outset and has helped to secure grant funding of between 30% and 100% through SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) under the Better Energy Communities Scheme, which carries out energy efficiency upgrades on the homes of fuel allowance recipients, community buildings and other households. The Tipperary Energy Agency has also assisted this project.

Transition Kerry in association with The Kerryman (third place – joint)

Transition Kerry aims to help communities in Kerry to become more self-reliant and sustainable. The project helps to accelerate change within Kerry by inspiring, encouraging, supporting, networking and training communities as they consider and then implement their vision for the future they want to live in. Transition Kerry recognises that the toughest challenges facing Tralee, local communities and wider humanity now are climate change, peak oil, food shortages and economic decline.

The group wants to help local communities to set up their own local transition groups. To date, three groups have been formed, around Tralee, Dingle and Kenmare. Working groups look at the areas of food security, energy security, transport, economy, water and community.

For more information see transitionkerry.org

The Abbeyleix Bog Project (ABP) in association with the Laois Nationalist (third place – joint)

The Abbeyleix Bog Project (ABP) conserves and protects the bog that was once threatened with harvesting for peat moss. The local community has committed to manage the bog for at least 50 years. The Abbeyleix Bog Project is an open access amenity developed by volunteers to benefit all.

The project stemmed from a local action group.  Following negotiations with Bord Na Móna a lease was signed in 2010 that handed over the bog to the local community to manage for a period of 50 years, with a primary focus on conservation. The ABP will develop, using a Community-Based Natural Resource Management approach, its Conservation Management Plan (CMP) and Business Management Plan (BMP) in order to maximize the ecological benefits to the local community in terms of education, employment, income and recreation.

Recently, the Project constructed a boardwalk that allows access into the high bog, which is otherwise difficult to enter. This protects both the bog and visitors who may be unused to bogland and the associated dangers. 20 volunteers hand-built the boardwalk over a 90-day period. The boardwalk was officially opened in August 2014 and a second phase will open soon.

The ABP hopes that the boardwalk will encourage active participation in environmental resource management and connect people now and in the future to the local environment.

For further information see abbeyleixbog.ie