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.
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.
Further information; Johnny O’Hanlon, Director, Local Ireland; firstname.lastname@example.org