By Niamh Dillon
To date Loughmore Cottage and Tea Rooms has provided support and revenue to over 50 local food and craft suppliers, acted as a meeting place for several clubs, associations and crafting groups as well as providing a lifeline and welcoming place for many of those that live alone in rural areas. In four short years it has become the hub of the community and Manager Mary Fogarty is confident that further work can be done to ensure every person in the village has a place to call their own at the cottage.
Plans to construct a meeting venue adjacent to the cottage are currently underway which Mary and the Loughmore team hope will soon become the official meeting place for Loughmore’s first Men’s Shed Club. In addition the new venue would also provide a new home to the ever growing Youth Club in the area with hopes that club members would take on an increased role in the running of the cottage. A series of projects to encourage youth involvement at the cottage include club members providing an outdoor mural as well as extending the range of vegetables and flowers grown for the shop and tea room. There are aso plans to introduce exercise classes, training events, group presentations and a seasonal market subject to the provision of funding.
“The possibilities are endless of what we could do with the extra space. The Cottage has proven itself to be a success and being able to add extra space on site would mean there isn’t a person in the area who wouldn’t be able to benefit from at least one project or initiative running at the cottage,” says Mary. Additionally Loughmore Cottage is also a central figure in setting up the first Plunkett Foundation Ireland group alongside an 11 person strong task force which Mary says hopes to be “up and running very soon.”
Loughmore Cottage was the first community run cooperative based on the UK Plunkett Foundation model to open in Ireland. The foundation provides support and By Niamh Dillon firstname.lastname@example.org advice to rural communities who wish to establish co-operatives and community owned enterprises in their area. It is hoped that the new Plunkett Ireland group will increase the number of community run cooperatives in the country by providing local training for those setting up their businesses. Loughmore Cottage and Tea Room was nominatedby the Tipperary Star to go forward in the 2015 Get Involved Campaign- an initiative supported by SEAI to promote voluntary sustainability projects in local communities.