SVT Activity & Wellness Hub and the Community of Killeshin greeted the judges in the IPB All Island Pride of Place Competition on July 19.
There was no hiding the pride of the local people. They displayed for the judges all they have done and continue to do to make their local communities better places to live, work and visit.
The SVT Activity & Wellness Hub entered the Community Wellbeing Initiative category.
The communities of Stradbally, Vicarstown and Timahoe demonstrated for the judges, John Briggs and Blaise Treacy, how they have come together under the umbrella of the SVT Activity & Wellness Hub to make where they live a super place to live, work and have fun.
The judging started in the stunning Heritage Centre in the picturesque village of Timahoe. The judges were treated on their tour to Games on the Green with Joe Carbery, and rugby in Woodview, Stradbally where they met Noel Ryan from the Woodwiew Residents Association.
The judges moved on to an excellent exhibition of the communities and their links with organisations, agencies and businesses such as Laois Sports Partnership, Sport Ireland, Laois County Council, Laois Partnership and the HSE to name a few. The exhibition took place in the fabulous Malt House venue. The judges were also wowed in Vicarstown with water sport demonstrations on the canal.
The SVT displayed how much they had achieved since their inception and their plans for the future. Both young and old were involved in the morning’s activities and great fun was had by all three communities.
Thursday afternoon saw the people of Killeshin pulling out all the stops to greet the judges. The community of Killeshin entered in the Population 300 – 1,000 Category. They presented their local area in all its glory and displayed to the judges, the resilience of this community to continue to improve and develop from both a social and an economic perspective.
The judges were piped in by Michael Ryan, Killeshin Pipe Band, followed by a presentation in the Killeshin Pipe Band Hall. They also visited the Saplings Junior School, The Den Community Childcare Facility, Jayne Eyre, the Coffee Shop, Mark Murray Physiotherapist, and Fifty Shades Hair Salon where they chatted with owners, employees and patrons.
The judges were treated to an excellent exhibition of Killeshin’s many community and sporting groups, also showcasing their links with organisations, agencies and businesses. The next stop was at Clonmore where the judges were introduced to Clonmore Meats, The Village Dairy and 12 Acres Brewery.
They then went to Rath Glen where Angela from the Residents Association spoke to the judges. The judges finished at the GAA and Soccer pitches where the children exhibited wonderful skills and teamwork. The judges enjoyed refreshments at the Community Centre.
The judges were accompanied on the day by Cathaoirleach, Cllr. John King and local elected members and public representatives. They spoke about the enormous benefits of Pride of Place.
Mr. Donal Brennan, Director of Services, Laois County Council praised both communities for their excellent work. He acknowledged the assistance of all the local and national agencies in the process of the social, cultural and economic development of our county. He particularly referred to the strides that have been made by these entrants in the past number of years to successfully make improvements and develop their own communities.
Pride of Place is now in its 16th year. It is sponsored by Irish Public Bodies Insurances Ltd and hosted by Co-operation Ireland under its Local Authority Programme, comprising of officials from authorities in both parts of Ireland.
The aim of the competition is to recognize initiatives taken by local communities to create pride in their area and to celebrate the vital contribution that community groups make to society. The competition focuses on people coming together to shape, enhance and enjoy all that is good about their area.
Pride of Place judges John Briggs and Blaise Treacy congratulated both entries representing Laois in this year’s competition. They said it is heartening it is to see local communities making such efforts to sustain themselves and look after each other. They stated that to be chosen by the local authority to represent Laois on the national stage meant they are winners in their own right.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr. John King stated how proud he was to be associated with such positive measures being taken by these communities. He thanked all involved in the efforts to prepare and in the ongoing development locally and wished them the very best of luck in the competition.
The results of the All-Island competition, which attracts entries from north and south of the border, will be announced by Co-operation Ireland at a special gala event in Cork in November.