Community festival and event organisers are being invited to participate in an innovative training programme inspired by the success of the Green Fleadh, an environmental initiative rolled out to 450,000 visitors to Ennis during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Clare Tourism, supported by Clare County Council, today launched the Green Festival Ambassador and Leader programme, the first of its kind in Ireland.
A series of introductory training sessions for festival organisers on how to minimise the environmental impact of such events by reducing waste, carbon emissions, and water and energy use will be hosted throughout Clare over the coming weeks. From these sessions, 10 festivals will be selected for localised Green Festival Ambassador training after which additional in-depth training will be provided to identified Green Leaders.
“As well as being the first of its kind in the country, this innovative training programme will benefit Clare and will be a template going forward for festival and events in communities across the County,” said Maurice Walsh, Chair of Clare Tourism.
Mr. Walsh continued, “This programme will train community festival organisers in a range of skills that will establish credibility in green festivals and enable the various festivals to address the challenges associated with becoming more environmentally sustainable. Clare Tourism is delighted to be playing its part in helping to reduce the environmental impact of events that attract large gatherings of people in one location.”
Gerard Dollard, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Services, Clare County Council, said: “There are approximately 100 festivals in the county annually with scores of sporting events taking place every year so the benefits for the local environment and economy in going green are clear. The greening of festivals also helps to instil a sense of pride in a community, it helps make a community more sustainable and resource efficient, and it encourages people to volunteer and be part of a community.”
Pat Stephens, Manager of the Limerick Clare Energy Agency (LCEA), explained that training in benchmarking and Greenhouse Gas calculation to Green Leaders “will help quantify the effectiveness of the greening festival/event being greened.”
He continued, “This type of training will help motivate festivals year on year. In addition, the knowledge, skills and experience gained by the trainees will be retained locally for future festivals and development.”
Karen Foley, Environmental Awareness Officer, Clare County Council, commented, “While guidelines for greening of festivals are very helpful community groups need engagement and support through focussed training. This training also will result in a support network where groups can continue to share experiences beyond the training programme.”
“The networks and skills developed will assist in supporting a range of other sustainability initiatives in the county such as Tidy Towns, transition towns, as well as community energy initiatives,” she added.
Ms. Foley confirmed that the target group for training are festival and event organisers, which may be associated with other community groups such as tidy towns, community development volunteers and local environmental champions.
Green Festival Ambassador and Leader programme introductory training sessions will be held at The Armada Hotel, Spanish Point (6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., 19 September), The Templegate Hotel, Ennis (10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., 6.00 p.m. to 8. p.m., 26 September), and The Killaloe Hotel & Spa (6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., 2 October). Training will be delivered by Raquel Noboa (Eco Tourism Consultant, Fifty Shades Greener) and Maurice Bergin (Green Hospitality).
According to Ms Foley, “Festival and event organisers are invited to attend the initial introductory sessions where they can learn more about what is involved in the greening of festivals as well as ascertain if they are interested in applying for training to green their own local festival.”
Communities can register to attend the introductory training session by contacting Deirdre Power, Clare Tourism (firstname.lastname@example.org / (065) 6821616).