Wexford Local Development discuss community involvement

By Sara Gahan

Siobhan O'Brien, Fran Ryan and Laura Myles of Wexford Local Development.
Siobhan O'Brien, Fran Ryan and Laura Myles of Wexford Local Development.
Siobhan O'Brien, Fran Ryan and Laura Myles of Wexford Local Development.
Muriel Lynch and Kathleen Kearney of St. Joseph's Community Centre at the conference.
Elizabeth Berry and Bridget Connors of the Traveller Community Health Programme at the conference in the Riverbank.

Community participation was the theme at this year's Wexford Local Development's Community Conference with over 200 activists attending the discussion in the Riverbank House Hotel, Wexford last week.

Speakers who wanted to discuss the benefits at the event were Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy, Fred Karlsson, founder of Done Deal and Brian Harvey, social researcher.

Delegates got to talk about the advantages of community involvement, the positive impacts of participation in local communities and local development within Ireland today, which concluded with a networking lunch for all attendees.

All participants joined in on interactive workshops where they devised a set of messages to encourage participation and engagement within communities. The challenge was to compose one tweet, using the 140 character guideline, to reach out to people and to increase participation and engagement. Discussions were lively and concentrated on solutions to the issue that community groups are experiencing.

Local Development sees the vital impact that local groups are having on a daily basis by building social cohesion, developing pride and confidence in their communities and improving opportunities for local people.

Since the new LEADER programme - Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development - which commenced last Autumn, 118 community projects have submitted interest for funding to enhance youth, arts, cultural facilities and walking trails around the County. This demonstrates the huge desire for local people to play a central role in developing their own communities.

Over 300 community groups already work with Wexford Local Development in helping to make a difference with their communities, these include TUS, Rural Social Scheme, WARM project and the Social Inclusion Programme.

Wexford People