O’Brien’s Bridge shaping area plan

O’Brien’s Bridge shaping area plan

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O’Brien’s Bridge is seeking involvement of local groups and individuals to help shape a new plan for the area.

The first community planning workshop will take place on Wednesday May 30th at Community Centre Montpelier, at 7pm.

With funding from Clare Local Development under the LEADER programme, facilitators Pat Kennedy and Gearóid Fitzgibbon of eTownz are working with local groups and individuals to create together a new development plan for the community.

“What are the achievements of our community? What are our key challenges? How can we work better? What shared goals would we like to see for the future?“ These are some of the questions that eTownz facilitators will be helping the community answer.

According to Pat Kennedy of eTownz: “As part of our Smart Communities Programme, O’Brien’s Bridge will avail of a number of local planning workshops. We want each local plan to be as representative as possible of the local community and engage with those socially excluded. eTownz will also be hosting group meetings with other areas in Clare on key shared themes, whether Community Energy, Heritage, Social Inclusion, Business development, depending on the interest. In this way we aim to increase the learning and networking between the 10 Clare communities taking part in this programme.

With the support of local community volunteers in O’Brien’s Bridge, eTownz staff will draft the three year area based community development plans over the next 6 months. At the programme launch in Ennis on April 26th, representatives from the 10 Clare communities taking part, met at the CLDC offices. The 10 communities taking part are: Bunratty, Carrigaholt/Killballyowen, Clooney/Quin, Killaloe, Kilkee, Kilmihil, Lisdoonvarna, Lissycasey, Milltown Malbay, O’Brien’s Bridge. The communities were selected on the basis of an application process and each is contributing €300 to co-fund the project.

According to Gloria Callinan of CLDC: “The Area Based Community Development Plans initiative is funded by Clare Local Development under the LEADER Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020. Community Planning is one of our Local Development Strategy objectives.”

eTownz, established 8 years ago by Laois native Pat Kennedy, specialises in helping communities develop and implement local plans. eTownz have also developed a series of simple online tools which support the community development programme which will be used throughout the project

Gearoid Fitzgibbon is lead workshop facilitator for the project. Gearoid has previously worked in community planning with North Tipperary LEADER. Gearóid also specialises in community energy and is co-founder Energy Communities Tipperary Co-operative, ECTC, which has leveraged over 6 million in local investment, upgraded over 600 homes and supported over 100 jobs in that county.

To book your place, or contribute your local plan, please register at this link: www.bit.ly/etownzsmart1 or contact eTownz on (pat@etownz.com) (Tel: (0)1 52 400 40)

Further information: Website: www.eTownz.com Facebook:  www.facebook.com/eTownz

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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