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Ambitious ideas may become reality if Council-backed

October 2nd, 2020 11:50 AM

By Emma Connolly

Taking part in the programme delivered by the Hincks Centre, part of the School of Business CIT, at Fernhill House in Clonakilty were, from left: Sandra Gallagher, Skibbereen; Alan Clayton, Kinsale; Denis Calnan, Rosscarbery and Margaret O’Donovan, Clonakilty. (Photo: Brian Lougheed).

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MY TOWN, MY PLAN: A NEW VISION FOR WEST CORK’S TOWNS

BETTER traffic management, new walkways, cycle corridors and better community facilities.

These are just some of the things that stakeholders from four West Cork towns who took part in a community training programme called My Town, My Plan want to deliver for their areas.

Representatives from different walks of life in Clonakilty, Kinsale, Rosscarbery and Skibbereen have developed exciting new visions for their towns after completing the programme in recent months.

Crucially, lots of them used what they learnt to support applications to Cork’s next county development plan, which is currently being drafted, which means they could very well come to fruition.

The Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence, part of the School of Business at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) designed and delivered the programme which was funded through Secad partnership CLG. Each town (there were eight in total throughout the county and included Carrigaline) had 12 sessions with trainers where they were given skills to help develop their shared vision.

The face-to-face training and consultative sessions began last September and moved online when Covid-19 hit. The programme comprised four core topics, delivered by experts, on developing community projects/enterprises, moving from ideas to validation, legal structures/governance and strategic planning.

Culture and heritage destinations and improved town centre spaces were among the ideas proposed by participants from the West Cork towns.

 

In addition, each town group selected four specialist topics most relevant to their town’s future development. Each town was represented by people from groups such as historical societies, Tidy Towns, sporting bodies and businesses.

Dr Helen McGuirk, head of the Hincks Centre said: ‘We noticed one general theme across most towns and that is the idea of developing greenways/trails and parks, opening up new areas to be explored and enjoyed by locals and visitors.

‘This is particularly pertinent with many Irish holidaymakers opting for a staycation this year due to Covid-19. The shared learning between the towns has been incredible and the Hincks Centre is delighted to have played a part in empowering these local communities.

‘It was all about the participants and stakeholders working together, thinking creatively, evaluating options and making collaborative decisions to develop clarity and vision for their individual town ideas.’

To keep momentum going on the work already achieved, an online ‘shared learning’ event will take place for West Cork on September 29th at 7pm. A similar event for South Cork is on October 7th.

Both will showcase each town’s work so far and listen to speakers from around the country on topics such as social enterprise, retail in towns and tourism.  The events will also introduce the next phase of support that Secad is offering through the Leader 2014-2020 programme.

Helen said this is all about focussing on the ‘next step,’ and importantly, finding out what funding is available to turn plans to reality. For more see hinckscentre.ie.

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