Rathkeale’s pride wins over the judges to scoop All-Ireland Community Award. Project to develop relationships between the Traveller and Settled community wins a Pride of Place prize.
Rathkeale was awarded a major prize at the all-Ireland Pride of Place Community Awards over the weekend for the work of local people’s efforts to improve relationships within the town.
Rathkeale took top spot in the Population 1000 - 2000 category with judges praising the work that has gone in to improving relations between the Traveller and Settled Communities though the Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project.
The citation for Rathkeale’s win was:
“The winning entry is about a town and the resolution of issues within that town. Various local events have now been organised on a cross community basis, between the Traveller and Settled Communities. The Pre Social Cohesion Group epitomises what can be achieved when people come together and work to achieve the extraordinary.”
The awards, hosted by Marty Morrissey, took place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic with more than 6,000 people logging in from across Ireland to see community groups pick up awards.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.
It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the island of Ireland.
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland said the awards played an important role.
“The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.”
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “Huge congratulations to everyone in Rathkeale on winning this Pride of Place award. You should be very proud of yourselves and what you have achieved. There is a renewed impetus in Rathkeale in promoting the positive in the town, with the opening of the new Welcome Centre, which includes a Fáilte Ireland Tourist Point and a revamped website, Rathkeale.com, which is getting the message about the town out to a wider audience.
"The Pre-Social Cohesion project is a great example of what can be achieved if we all work together for the betterment of our community. It is something special to be recognised for this community spirit on a national level, so everyone involved should be very proud and happy with their work.”
Three other Limerick projects were shortlisted for the awards.
- Bedford Row Family Project entered in the Cities Competition under the Community Wellbeing Initiative category
- Monaleen Park Residents’ Association entered in the Cities Competition under the Urban Neighbourhoods/ Villages category
- Vale View Residents’ Association entered in the Main Competition under the Housing Estates Category
Gordon Daly, Director of Community Development in Limerick City and County Council said: “The members of the Rathkeale project should take a bow for the work and commitment they have shown to ensure it has become a success. These projects don’t just happen. It needs ongoing community support and a dedicated core group of people to oversee it.
“This project is the epitome of community spirit and fully deserves its win. Indeed, I must also thank the other three shortlisted groups for their work in their communities. Together we are stronger.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said: “These Awards continue to be as important as ever after all these years and the purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”
Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman of Co-operation Ireland said: “Pride of Place deserves its position as one of the most prestigious community awards on the island of Ireland and Co-operation Ireland is delighted that it continues to go from strength to strength.”
George Jones Chairman, IPB Insurance said: “We are proud to be title sponsors of the Pride of Place awards and continue to be amazed by the standard of submissions and their social impact on communities is a testament to an individual and collective vision for a better Ireland.
“This competition provides a fitting platform to recognise the vast strides communities across the island of Ireland are making. It is essential, now more than ever, that in these challenging times that we reflect and focus on the positives and take time to celebrate the excellent work accomplished around the island of Ireland.”
Limerick City And County Council wish to congratulate The Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project on a well-deserved victory in this year’s Pride of Place awards. And to our other nominees, commiserations. We wish the best of luck moving forward in continuing to make your communities the great places they are. This was an exceptionally difficult year, given the circumstances, and you should all be incredibly proud of yourselves.”
Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project
Rathkeale is a unique town in West Limerick in that over one-fifth of its population comprises people who self-identify as Travellers. While it faces a number of social and community issues and economic decline, the town still offers an attractive range of activities and facilities, in areas such as volunteering, sport, music and education.
The Pre-Social Cohesion Project works to bring together all communities - Traveller and settled communities in the town. It is unique in that it promotes cross-community leadership and understanding and encourages the development of civic pride. The work of the project is defined and carried out by an ecumenical committee consisting of representatives from both communities and local churches.
"Taking part in the Pride of Place competition has given our group a chance to reflect on what has been done and achieved to date which has been very valuable. Rathkeale Pre Social Cohesion Committee is very much about bring people together to better understand each other and to plan for the future. The Pride of Place Awards has highlighted the benefit of this and the positive impact we can have on Rathkeale." – Shay Riordan, Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project
Bedford Row Family Project
Bedford Row Family Project supports families affected by imprisonment in Limerick. It focuses on ‘breaking the cycle’ of offending. Most of their work involves enhancing the well-being of children who are growing up in families that are in distress because of addiction, poverty, poor housing, family discord and imprisonment itself, in addition to supporting parents to take up responsibilities while in prison and/ or on release.
The Project is open to learning from all over the world, is proud that they are homegrown and believes that modelling autonomy and tenacity has a transformative effect on those who they are supporting in their everyday work.
"Bedford Row Family Project is delighted and privileged to have been chosen to represent Limerick in the Pride of Place and we are very excited about our work being acknowledged on the national stage. Regardless of the outcome we are proud to have got this far and, who knows, we might get the ‘nod’ from Marty on the night!" – Larry de Cleir, Project Leader, Bedford Row Family Project
Monaleen Park Residents’ Association
Monaleen Park Residents’ Association was established in 1980 and has a strong sense of community. The group has always been committed to engaging people living in the estate and wider metropolitan community in environmentally friendly and well-being projects and there is a great sense of pride in everything they do.
In more recent times Monaleen Park have engaged increasingly in nurturing biodiversity. Since 2015 it is committed to the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), water conservation, waste management and combating litter, including ‘Castletroy Bye-Bye, Cable-Ties’, an initiative set-up in 2019, to remove cable ties after elections.
Monaleen residents participate every year in the National Spring Clean & Team Limerick Clean-Up and are previous winners in Limerick’s Going for Gold.
"We are delighted with the awards being virtual this year because if gives everybody in the community an opportunity to tune in on the night and enjoy the ceremony. Pride Of Place 2020 has given us an opportunity to “write-up” what is working well in the community and reflect critically on what we might do better next year." – Kevin Haugh, Monaleen Park Resident’s Association
Vale View Residents Association
Vale View Residents Association is part of Vale View, a small housing estate located in Kilfinane, which is the highest town in County Limerick, nestled within the Ballyhoura Mountain range. The Residents’ Association established almost 9 year ago aim to keep the area clean and attractive while taking biodiversity on board.
With a strong sense of community, the members of the group encourage each other to create and maintain the area. Working in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council, the residents created many environmentally friendly and well-being projects.
"We are delighted and thrilled to have been chosen to be involved in Pride Of Place It is an honour an appreciation of all our hard work to represent county Limerick. We treat it as our Garden and are determined to improve our standards even higher." – Alice Carroll, Vale View Resident’s Association
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