Abbeyleix Tidy Towns were announced as winners of their category at the IPB Pride of Place awards recently in the INEC, Killarney.
The award was received by Mary White, Betty Whelan and Councillor John Joe Fennelly.
Dubbed the ‘Oscars of the Community Sector’ the Pride of Place awards are an annual competition organised by Co-operation Ireland and sponsored by IPB Insurance.
It promotes and celebrates the best in community development and recognises the selfless efforts of people in making their local neighbourhoods better places to live, work and socialise.
The judges said that this is one of the finest examples in the island of Ireland, of community development enhancing the everyday lives of the local population and visitors alike.
Their bog conservation project, the jewel in the crown, has gained international accolade – it is one of many outstanding initiatives.
Abbeyleix Tidy Towns Committee was established in 1959 in an effort to galvanise the community to work together to ensure Abbeyleix was not only a great place in which to live, but to work in and visit.
Over the years the Committee grew and forged alliances with Laois County Council, local schools and community groups, building a momentum that is evident today by the achievements of the group.
Charged with creating a community that continues to be an attractive place to live, work and visit the focus is now on place-making and on re-imagining a beautiful heritage town as a smart and sustainable community.
There is an inclusive ethos and determination to engage the wider community in the work.
The Committee collaborates freely with external groups and institutions and maintains a very positive working relationship with a range of public bodies and agencies, not least the Local Authority.
It promotes a ‘support local’ ethos and is currently working on significant flagship biodiversity and climate action projects.
The Gala Awards Ceremony was attended by Director of Services of Laois County Council Donal Brennan; the Cathaoirleach was represented on the night by Cllr. John Joe Fennelly; Carmel McNicholl SEO Laois County Council, Pamela Tynan, AO Laois County Council and representatives from Abbeyleix Tidy Towns.