A great evening
Over 100 community and business ambassadors from across Carlow gathered in Lord Bagenal Inn for the Town & Village Rural Development & Enterprise Summit on Monday night.
The showcase event was held to facilitate the development of opportunities for rural communities across Carlow and was hosted by Carlow County Council as part of Local Enterprise Week #makingithappen.
The event kicked off with Bernie O'Brien, Director of Services with Carlow County Council who spoke about the power of communities and their ability to drive change which followed with a panel event with Turlough O’Brien – Carlow GAA Senior Football Manager, Tracy Keogh from Remote Connect, Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive of Carlow County Council, John Brophy, Chairperson of Carlow Local Community Development Committee, Lorna Buggy of Buggy Curtain Making Service.
Kicking off the panel event, Turlough O'Brien spoke about the requirement to talk up Carlow and the importance of setting a vision for the future and leadership and advised the audience that "you miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take" this was followed by Tracy Keogh who advocated the requirement to "bridge the gap in communities working together by understanding opportunities".
John Brophy, Chairperson of Carlow LCDC advocated "not overloading volunteers and bringing them on board slowly in order to gain followers" while Lorna Buggy talked about "the requirement for business to play their part in developing a local community".
The panel event was followed by presentations by Bobby Connolly who advocated taking time out of your business to work on your business and also Kieran Comerford who outlined project development opportunities for rural communities and advised of the upcoming Town & Village Renewal Scheme.
Speaking about the event, Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive with Carlow County Council said "it was evident at the event, that there were many opportunities for communities to develop grass roots projects and tonight was about understanding them and building capacity so that we can all face challenges and work together to deliver on these projects".
Ms Holohan stated that "with a multitude of funding opportunities we all have a role to play in developing proposals and projects which can be delivered that create real impact in rural communities" and "we look forward to working with communities on the next round of Town & Village Renewal Scheme".
When outlining how the Town & Village Scheme works, Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office said "we would encourage communities to complete the expression of interest form for the Town & Village scheme so we can evaluate and assist with the development of projects proposals for County Carlow".
He advised that "the closing date for expressions of interest is April 5 2019 and if communities wanted help in developing their proposals to contact the team at the Local Enterprise Office".
Closing the event, Cllr Brian O'Donoghue, Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, lauded the Local Communities in investing their time to discuss the opportunities and challenges for their communities and also acknowledged each elected member present for playing their role in supporting communities.
He added: "Tonight was about laying foundations in terms of development of projects in order to have clear plans for partnership led projects into the future and encouraged all to engage with Carlow County Council to help avail of these opportunities."
The Town & Village Renewal Scheme is now open for expressions of interest until 4th April 2019.
Further information from Helen Ryan on 059-9129783 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or online on www.localenterprise.ie/carlow