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Get involved initiative delivers €10k to champion community projects

Thursday 11th May 2017: Four community projects from Counties Limerick, Cork, Leitrim and Longford were the recipients of €10,000 in funding following the presentation of awards in the Local Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) sponsored 4th annual Get Involved Community Initiative awards ceremony in Dublin today.

Broadford and Ashford Walking Trails, St. Patrick’s Boys National School, Skibbereen Sensory Garden and North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Committee were each awarded bursaries of €3,000, while Longford Revamp was awarded €1,000.

The projects spanned a wide cross-section of community activities ranging from the provision of beautiful walking trails in Limerick, a magnificent sensory garden in a boys national school in Skibbereen to an amazing energy project in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim which, when completed, will result in the town and environs greatly reducing its carbon emissions. The Longford revamp project restores old furniture and provides valuable local employment.

Now in its 4th year, the Local Ireland Get Involved Sustainable Communities awards initiative is promoted by 51 weekly paid for newspapers. 32 projects from the 26 counties entered the 2016 competition. The projects span the essential areas necessary to build sustainable communities, clean energy, water conservation, local food production, eco-tourism and developing sustainable local community employment.

In his address, Jim Gannon, Chief Executive SEAI commended the project finalists and said that the current vision for SEAI is to identify and assist communities to help themselves. “In 10 years from now I expect that Ireland will have hundreds of communities that will be pursuing sustainable activities. At that time our role will be to assist these communities in the key areas of education and technical support.”

David Burke, President of Local Ireland and Managing Editor of the Tuam Herald in his welcoming address said that all the projects presented were all about community, the most important thing we have. “Member titles of Local Ireland highlight the key issues that are necessary for these communities to survive and thrive. Our titles have a gross readership of 1.5m people outside Dublin and Cork cities. We get Involved, we inform, give leadership and support to all that is good in our communities. We have been around for over 150 years, and in the case of the Tuam Herald for 180 years  and have invested for the future with our multi-platform news delivery systems”, he said.

Duncan Stewart, award winning architect, broadcaster and environmentalist and chairman of the judging panel commended all participants for the quality of the projects presented and for their unstinting commitment to making their communities more sustainable for the future.  “I can see this initiative being in every community in Ireland over the next ten years. If it’s not, then those communities will die because they are facing massive challenges. The impacts of climate change are coming upon us very quickly. I think the only solution is going to be a bottom up movement and you are the pioneers of this movement. It is only through local collaboration that we can turn it around and capitalise on these opportunities.

Declan Meally head of Emerging Sectors with SEAI said;The energy we see from people getting involved is absolutely massive. The biggest community project in the world is hitting us now with climate change. Looking at the projects we have seen here, that is the only way we are going to tackle this; thinking big but starting small”

ENDS

Further information; Johnny O’Hanlon, Director, Local Ireland; johanlon@localireland.info

Telephone; 087/2727398

Local Ireland Picture Conor McCabe Photography
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Meet the Get Involved 2016 Shortlist

Ballintrillick Environmental Group (Co. Sligo) – Sligo Champion

For Get Involved 2017, Sligo Champion chose to support a pioneering local community centre in Ballintrillick, North Sligo. The community centre is also home to an eco-friendly hostel and this hostel, set in a remote and beautiful part of Ireland, four miles from the nearest village, attracts visitors from all over the world. The income from tourism then provides a means for the centre to offer services for the local community that are not provided by anyone else, public or private.

Founded in 1992, the Ballintrillick Environmental Group was set up to deal with rubbish in the local area. The clean up operation has continued ever since on an annual basis. They formed a company, got charitable status and decided to use a derelict VEC building for the community. Today the Benwiskin Centre is a social hub and a community resource used for family gatherings, parties, plus social and sports clubs.

The hostel uses solar panels, a biomass system to decrease oil usage, a water harvesting system, plus its home to a community garden and polytunnel where locals grow their own organic vegetables. The group has also created a children’s playground garden in what was an overgrown field and has developed an old mill site to create a new local amenity with picnic area, sculpture trail and forest path.

Now the centre requires an extension to provide sufficient space for guests, staff and the local community. Planning permission has already been granted for the extension but the build will cost approximately €250,000 to complete.

Cloughjordan Community Group – Scohaboy Wetlands project – Nenagh Guardian

Nenagh Guardian supported a bog visitor attraction in Cloughjordan for Get Involved 2017. Cloughjordan Community Development Committee is pioneering a nature/biodiversity project focusing on the Sopwell/Scohaboy wetlands. The group aims to develop a unique natural heritage attraction along the Beara-Breifne National Waymarked Heritage Trail, which will connect into Ireland’s Ancient East trail, as well as offering a quality local amenity.

The project includes the creation of a new 1,200-acre visitor attraction ‘wetland’ at Sopwell/Scohaboy. The area represents some of the last remnants of a unique habitat and as such is of national and international importance.

The visitor attraction will aim to offer education on areas like heritage habitat management and protection, the bog as a carbon sink and peatlands role in climate change; plus an interactive tourism component by which visitors can learn about traditional peat culture and usage.

The wetland project will enhance Cloughjordan’s offering as a ‘stay-over’ location along the Beara-Breifne Way and Ireland’s Ancient East Trail, plus it will make the wetlands more readily accessible to the entire population of North Tipperary and Offaly.

Longford Revamp – Longford Leader

Longford Leader decided to support the REVAMP project in Longford town in this year’s Get Involved competition. REVAMP is an innovative furniture re-cycling and reuse initiative, which was launched 15 years ago. REVAMP was originally created as a training project for long-term unemployed young people however, it subsequently expanded and now strives to promote the re-use of unwanted, high quality furniture, provided at a low cost to people living in Co Longford and the surrounding area.

The project combines environmental, social and economic factors and no other project of its nature exists in the Midlands. Crucially, the project provides an opportunity for various training experiences under the FAS training programme and enables participants to gain FETAC certification and hands-on experience in areas including furniture restoration, carpentry, furniture polishing, painting and laying wooden floors. Through these training opportunities REVAMP aims to raise the skills, self-esteem and aspirations of participants.

St Patrick’s NS, Skibbereen, Sensory Garden – Southern Star

For this year’s Get Involved competition, The Southern Star championed a garden project based at St Patrick’s National School, Skibereen. The project started with a desire to create a sensory garden on a small area of unused land located behind the school. The school has three classes for children with autism and the idea was that this could act as a nice space for the students in these classes and for the entire school. However, the project quickly evolved into a multi-faceted organic garden that the school hopes will benefit not just its own population but the wider Skibereen community.

The garden now comprises a geodome, which enables the school to grow all year around and take classes in the garden during colder months; ten raised beds, a sensory garden; a zen garden where children can rake and play with sand; a willow dome and tunnel, which will grow to provide a natural, growing classroom; a wild trail; an amphitheatre for outdoor lessons; an insect hotel and a woodland area.

The garden provides wonderful educational benefits, plus a space of peace and tranquility that encourages children to be mindfully present in nature.

North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community – Leitrim Observer

This year, Leitrim Observer chose to support the North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) for Get Involved. North Leitrim SEC encourages households in its local area to participate in an energy efficient project with the possibility of grant aid for work.

The group was set up by volunteers in summer 2016 to promote community-owned renewable energy and energy efficiency in the area. The group organised an application to SEAI under the Better Energy Communities Programme to assist households and organisations to increase their energy efficiency and cut fuel costs. They made contact with partners in the business and public sectors and then set about identifying private households to participate in this project.

The application would fund a range of energy saving measures to a level of 35% of the total cost for most households, rising to 80% for certain households. Eligible measures include certain types of insulation, heating upgrades and door and window replacement.

The project is being run this year as a pilot so the number of households involved was limited.

Broadford-Ashford Walking Trails – Limerick Leader

This year, the Limerick Leader supported a project that has seen walking trails redeveloped and promoted for tourism purposes. Run by the voluntary committee, the Broadford/Ashford walking trails promote six routes in the Mullaghareirk mountain range.
Each of the six routes has been selected to provide spectacular views over Co Limerick. They are fully waymarked and have illustrated storyboards in the picturesque villages of Broadford and Ashford. The six walking routes are An Gleann Beag Loop, the Gleann na gCapall Loop, the Killagholehane Way, the Broadford to Ashford Way, the Ashford to Lough Ghe Way and the Gortnaclohy Loop.
Local sports clubs use them for training and team building, local schools as part of their active weeks. It is also an opportunity to gain local knowledge and familiarise oneself with the area as the start of all of the walks are storyboards detailing routes, flora & fauna and local history.
Broadford and Ashford is also home to a hill walking group by the name of The Mullaghareirk Ramblers. Affiliated with Mountaineering Ireland, the group meets every 3 weeks to climb mountains in the Munster region. The group make great use of the local trails to maintain fitness.
A core part of this project’s success has been the development of a detailed interactive website. Before launching the trails the website was set up at www.walkbroadfordashford.com
Also, in order to regularly communicate with followers, the group also set up a Facebook page which can be found at www.facebook.com/broadford- ashfordwalkingtrails

Finalists announced for Get involved ‘17

Desk top judging of the 32 projects submitted for Get Involved ’17 has been completed and the shortlisted finalists are;

  • St. Patrick’s  Boys School, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Sensory Garden in conjunction with Southern Star
  • Nenagh Guardian, Shohaboy/Sopwell (Cloughjordan) Wetlands in conjunction with the Nenagh Guardian
  • Revamp furniture Longford, in conjunction with the Longford Leader
  • Ballintrillick Environmental Group (Benwiskin Centre) in conjunction with the Sligo Champion
  • Broadford Trails in conjunction with the Limerick Leader
  • North Leitrim  NEC and Seamus Dunbar in conjunction with the  Leitirm Observer.

The next state involves the judging panel, chaired by Duncan Stewart, visiting each project on Thursday/Friday 4th/5thMay. Each project will also be filmed during the on-site judging process.

These projects are competing for a €10,000 prize fund, made up of Overall winner;  €5,000, 2nd €1,500; 3rd €500; Community Energy Champion €3,000.

The awards presentation will take place on Thursday 11th May in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown. There will be a Café conversation,  moderated by Davie Philip, Co-Founder Cultivate, centred around how community projects can grow and develop their projects and engage with other agencies. The awards presentation will include each project making a 2 minute Dragon’s Den style presentation to the judges and a short film of each project will be screened on the day.

Lough more Tea Rooms

Tipperary Project Scoops the Big Prize in Local Ireland Community Awards

Thursday 25th February 2016: Loughmore, Co.Tipperary Community Tea rooms were the big winners in the 2015 Get Involved Community award presentations. The delighted co-op members returned to Loughmore with a cheque for €5000, first prize in the Sustainable Communities awards section, sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authtority of Ireland (SEAI) and a further €1,500 for second place in the Community Impact section, sponsored by Clann Credo, the Social Investment Fund.

Now in its 3rd year, the Local Ireland Get Involved Sustainable Communities awards initiative is promoted by 51 weekly paid for newspapers and this year’s initiative boasted a total prize fund of €12,500.

Local Ireland Picture Conor McCabe Photography
Local Ireland Picture Conor McCabe Photography

30 projects from all over Ireland entered the 2015 competition. The projects cover the essential areas necessary to build sustainable communities, clean energy, water conservation, local food production, eco-tourism and developing local community employment.

The other prize winning projects in the Sustainable Community section included;  Moyhill Community Gardens, based near Lahinch, Co. Clare; Boomerang Enterprises, a mattress recycling operation in Cork city and Kells Community Growers, Co. Meath.

Winners in the Community Impact Award section included;  Siopa na Feirme, based in Waterville, Co. Kerry, Loughmore Tea Rooms, Co. Tipperary, Copper Coast Geo Park, Co. Waterford and Athy Men’s Shed, Co. Kildare.

David Burke, President of Local Ireland and Managing Editor of the Tuam Herald in his welcoming address said that all the projects presented were all about community, the most important thing we have. “Member titles of Local Ireland highlight the key issues that are necessary for these communities to survive and thrive. Our titles have a gross readership of 1.5m people outside Dublin and Cork cities. We inform, give leadership and support to all that is good in our communities. We have been around for over 150 years and have invested for the future with our multi-platform news delivery systems”, he said.

Duncan Stewart, award winning architect, broadcaster and environmentalist and chairman of the judging panel commended all participants for the quality of the projects presented and for their unstinting commitment to making their communities more sustainable for the future.  “I can see this initiative being in every community in Ireland over the next ten years. If it’s not, then those communities will die because they are facing massive challenges. The impacts of climate change are coming upon us very quickly. We have seen it in Ireland with the flooding. I think the only solution is going to be a bottom up movement and you are the pioneers of this movement. It is only through local collaboration that we can turn it around and capitalise on these opportunities.

Declan Meally head of Emerging Sectors with SEAI said;The energy we see from people getting involved is absolutely massive. The biggest community project in the world is hitting us now with climate change. Looking at the projects we have seen here, that is the only way we are going to tackle this; thinking big but starting small”

Paul O’Sullivan, Clann Credo CEO said; “The synergy between local newspapers and communities is part of the resilience of communities across rural Ireland. One of the things that is vital for our survival on this planet is to address our environmental sustainability. For Clann Credo it is not the financial return that is paramount, rather how is the social dividend of the group or project going to manifest itself? The loan finance that we make available has helped many communities to recognise their vision or dream”, he concluded.

ENDS.

Further information; Johnny O’Hanlon, Director, Local Ireland; johanlon@localireland.info

Telephone; 087/2727398

Anja Murray Takes Us Inside the Judging Process

Get Involved is very lucky to be supported by a wonderful judging panel, made up of chairman, Duncan Stewart; Anja Murray; Ruth Buggie, SEAI; and Paul O’Sullivan, Clann Credo. Ecologist, environmental policy analyst and broadcaster, Anja Murray has been a member of the panel since the initiative launched in 2013. We caught up with her to hear some of her thoughts about this year’s competition and to learn more about how the judges assess entrants into the Get Involved competition.

Get Involved: Hi Anja, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. You’ve been judging Get Involved projects since the initiative began three years ago, so you’re ideally placed to discuss how the make-up of projects has changed over that time. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

Anja Murray: The initiative has grown in many ways since it began.

There were far fewer applications in the first year than in this, the third year of ‘Get Involved’. In the first year some of the projects were fantastic but many were still embryonic.

In 2014 there was a really good range of community-led projects, some focusing on energy conservation, others on food, and many which aimed to restore cherished local natural habitats. This year the quality of projects jumped again and much of what communities are doing, largely on their own initiative and with really innovative approaches, is truly inspiring.

In addition, this year we have seen an even greater merging of social, economic and environmental objectives, where a single project brings people together to learn from each other, helps some of the most vulnerable people in the area, and has the overall effect of lessening the ecological footprint of that community. That has been really exciting to witness.

Get Involved: What do you think makes a sustainable, community-led project work well?

Anja Murray: There are so many communities all over the world coming together to run locally-based environmental and heritage conservation projects and to me the core success of any of these is how the group works together.

Having an inclusive and ‘ground up’ approach is almost always the best indicator of the success of a project. However, the natural environment is complex, so it’s necessary to have an ecological understanding to ensure that projects that include conservation objectives actually deliver what they set out to achieve.

Get Involved: Yourself and the rest of the judging panel, including our sponsors, SEAI and Clann Credo, recently completed the desktop stage of the judging process. Could you tell us a little bit about how that works?

Anja Murray: We start by reading the application forms and the coverage of each project in the local paper. Each judge makes their own notes on each project. We try to get a sense of how much collaborative effort went into the project and what the social, economic and environmental benefits of the project are.

All the scores are totalled and we discuss each project together. Through this process the stand-out groups begin to emerge and we get a sense of which ones we need to visit to get a better understanding of how they work.

Get Involved: So, then you visit the projects that you’ve shortlisted. What do you look for during a site visit?

Anja Murray: During a site visit we like to meet the participants and ask them to explain what they have been doing and why. It’s always wonderful to see the character of each project in reality, rather than just reading about it on an application form or in the newspaper articles! During the site visits we really gets a real sense of the collaborative effort, energy, enthusiasm and knowledge that has gone into a project. To me, that’s really exciting.

Get Involved: Is there anything that you would encourage people to focus on or look at if they are planning to enter next year’s competition?

Anja Murray: The Get Involved initiative is unique in that the emphasis is on collective efforts to deliver projects that bring about social, environmental and economic benefits. That’s no easy task and it means that a project where a very small group has done a beautiful ecology project won’t make the grade, so to speak.

Groups should think about being as inclusive as possible in how they go about the tasks they set themselves and look at widening the reach of the positives.

Our ethos is that strong and resilient communities are essential to sustainable development and that no one aspect of sustainability can be achieved without also delivering wider community benefits.

Get Involved: So what’s next?

Anja Murray: I’m really looking forward to getting out to see the shortlisted projects in early 2016. It will be a great opportunity to meet some of the inspiring people who have worked really hard, had a lot of fun together and collectively advanced common good causes within their localities.
Follow Anja on Twitter @MiseAnja

 

Get Social With Get Involved

Congratulations to all of you who “Got Involved” this year. Each person who took part, whether as a project leader or a part time contributor, has played a part in something bigger than themselves.

You’ve campaigned, renovated, conserved, gardened and co-op-ed up a storm for your community’s benefit. And so have lots and lots and LOTS of other people throughout the country.

In fact, 27 separate projects were undertaken in 2015. Each project brought together a community of volunteers who focused on bringing about practical and real social change.

Add to this year’s tally the 22 projects that were completed in 2014 and the additional 22 that participated in 2013, the first year of the initiative, and you start to get the picture of a wave of social innovation that is sweeping the country project by project.

Although each Get Involved project is supported by its local newspaper, we want to spread the word about Get Involved further and wider. We want to let everyone in Ireland know that communities throughout the country have given up their time to make real, sustainable change happen. It’s time to take our underground movement into the spotlight!

You can help by sharing stories, pictures and videos of your project. Not only will this inspire future participants to take up the mantle, it might even encourage the judges to take a shine to your project (and let’s not forget that there’s a bursary of €12,000 available for the winners to share).

We’ll Tweet, post to Facebook and make sure that your project shouts louder, shines brighter and gets the attention it deserves.

So come on, get in touch and Get Involved online!

Follow Get Involved on Twitter
Like Get Involved on Facebook

The winners of the Get Involved Community Initiative Awards are Limerick Community Grocery Cooperative

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

Get Involved Awards to Celebrate Award Winners and Inspire Others

The Get Involved Awards will take place on February 26th 2015 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone. The event will recognise sustainable community projects undertaken in 2014, which were facilitated by their local newspapers.

Get Involved is a sustainable community initiative and competition developed 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. The awards programme is sponsored by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

In 2014, 21 projects from 18 counties were shortlisted into a competition with a chance to win €7,000 worth of bursary, including €5,000 for the winning project. Every completed project made a substantial positive impact on its community.

The Get Involved Awards event will celebrate the winning projects and it promises to inspire prospective participants through a “conversation cafe” on community, collaboration and the role of local newspapers; plus presentations on a range of topics linked to sustainability and co-operation in the community. Speakers include Declan Meally and Brian Motherway of sponsors Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); Davie Philip; Anja Murray; and chairman of the Get Involved judging panel, Duncan Stewart.

Deadlines for Get Involved Community Initiative Announced

Thirty projects have been chosen by their local newspapers for inclusion in the 2014 Get Involved national competition, which boasts a prize fund of €7,000.

The organisers of Get Involved, NNI Local & Regional and Local Ireland, which together represent 51 weekly titles, have agreed the remaining deadlines for this year’s competition.

July 11th – The first deadline is for the submission of the completed application form, which should detail the local project plan and objectives. Copies of this document are available here.

October 31st – The second deadline is for the final submissions for judging.

Judging will commence on November 13th. Initial judging will be carried out on a desktop basis and the top 10 projects emerging from this process will be subject to site visits by the national judging panel. Site visits will take place on November 26th/27th.

The presentation of awards will take place in Dublin Castle in January 2015. All local projects will be invited to send representatives to this reception, where the winning project and two runner-up projects will be presented with cash awards amounting to a total of €7,000. Each local project will receive a framed certificate recognising their participation in Get Involved 2014.

For further information contact; Enda Buckley at buckley.enda@gmail.com or 086 8112757 or Johnny O’Hanlon at johanlon@localireland.ie

Prize Fund Boost for Get Involved Community Initiative

The 2014 SEAI Get Involved community initiative launched in April received a massive boost this week following  the decision by organisers, NNI Local and Regional and the Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland (RNPAI) to provide a €7,000 prize fund for this year’s competition.

The winning entry from each newspaper will be eligible to compete for this valuable prize fund which will consist of a €5,000 bursary for the winning project and 2 x €1,000 bursaries for the two runner-up projects.

Judging for the awards will take place in October/November by the judging panel, chaired by renowned broadcaster/environmentalist Duncan Stewart.

This welcome boost has prompted the organisers to extend the deadline. So if you have ambitions to undertake a sustainable community project please contact your local newspaper editor. For further information go to www. get-involved.ie

2013 Winners Announced

1st Place

Connaught Telegraph

Kilmeena National School water sustainability project, in association with The Connaught Telegraph

2nd Place

Westmeath Independent

Battery Heights community memorial garden, Athlone, in association with the Westmeath Independent

3rd Place

Sligo Champion

Doorly Park Clean and Green Project, Sligo town, County Sligo in association with The Sligo Champion.

Highly Commended

Waterford News & Star

The Busy Bees Garden Project, St John’s Park, Waterford City, in association with the Waterford News & Star.

Connacht Tribune

Ballyglunin Railway Restoration Project and Abbey Acts, in association with the Connacht Tribune.

The Kerryman

The Farranfore Development Association Green Tracks Project, Farranfore, Co. Kerry in association with The Kerryman.

Participated In Projects

Drogheda Independent

The Rathmullen Community Garden project, Drogheda, Co. Louth in association with the Drogheda Independent Newspaper.

Wexford People

Community Garden at the FAB Community House, Ferndale, Wexford in association with the Wexford People

New Ross Echo

The High Hill Project, New Ross, Co. Wexford in association with the New Ross Echo

Fingal Independent

Balbriggan Town Save our Shelter (SOS) campaign from Balbriggan Beach, Co Dublin in association with the Fingal Independent

Carlow Nationalist

Repainting of Killeshin community hall, Kileshin, Co. Laois and landscaping of its grounds in association with The Nationalist newspaper, Carlow

Evening Echo

The Greenfields Road/An Caisleán Landscaping Project, Ballincollig, Co. Cork, in association with the Evening Echo newspaper

The Corkman

Blackwater Heritage Recovery Project, Fermoy, Co. Cork. In association with The Corkman newspaper

The Argus

Dromiskin Medicinal and Cottage Garden carried out by Dromiskin Tidy Towns, County Louth in association with The Argus, Dundalk.

Anglo-Celt

River Inny enhancement project, Ballyjamesduff in association with The Anglo-Celt

The Munster Express

Tramore – Doneraile enhancement project – in association with The Munster Express

The Southern Star

Cellmount Loop Walk project, in association with The Southern Star

The Limerick Leader

Limerick Going for Gold, in association with Limerick Leader

The Limerick Chronicle

Limerick Going for Gold, in association with Limerick Chronicle

The Longford Leader

The Tubberpatrick Graveyard Restoration Project in association with the Longford Leader

The Meath Chronicle

Athboy Community Garden project in association with The Meath Chronicle

The Tipperary Star

Templemore Gathering Committee Initiative – In association with The Tipperary Star