Grow Remote, a community project intended to increase employment opportunities in regional areas by connecting remote workers with companies, is planning a series of online events to showcase the benefits of moving to Co. Clare.
The ‘Town Taster’ events, which have been designed to act as a concierge service for those looking to make the move from cities to regional locations, will take place in Clare over the October bank holiday weekend.
Tracy Keogh, one of the founding members of the Grow Remote initiative says the events have been created as a direct response to the growing number of queries since the Covid crisis began.
“Our team is now responding to over one hundred queries per week from people looking for information on rural and regional locations. The requests vary from young tech workers in their 20’s looking to make a move back to their hometown, couples priced out of the housing market and highly skilled workers across all sectors. Almost all of these queries are driven by the move to remote work since March and the opportunity many now have to work from anywhere across the country.
Our recent research shows that those looking to make a move are searching for information on co-working spaces available, social groups that are on offer, local meet ups, outdoor activities and of course the big questions around housing, child care and affordability. The events offer a practical insight into daily life from those who have made the move to work remotely in Clare and locals who have grown up in the area.”
Local county councillor Cillian Murphy said: “We are really looking forward to rolling out these Town Tasters here in Clare next month, it will provide us as communities with a real opportunity to showcase, to anyone considering making a move to our rural or coastal communities, exactly how great our quality of life is here.
Clare County Council have done a brilliant job of putting together the ‘DigiClare’ network of high spec hubs right across the county, we now have a responsibility to leverage this infrastructure so it delivers far more than simply just spaces to work from. If we, on the Loop Head Peninsula for example, want to really tap into the rural regeneration opportunity presented by remote work, we have to start marketing ourselves in a different way, primarily as a place to live in rather than just a place to visit. As a tourism destination we have all those tools available to us, we just need to aim them in a different direction, for a different purpose. People already love visiting us here, we just need to reach out and show them they could live here just as easily.”
Grow Remote is a not-for-profit organisation, which started life as a WhatsApp group in 2018, and now has over 130 local chapters across Ireland and 10,000 members. It has also expanded beyond these shores with projects in countries such as the US, Scotland and Portugal.
The organisation recently secured €500,000 from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund with matched funding coming from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and the Western Development Commission and in recent weeks has appointed a new General Manager, John Evoy who was the founder of Men’s Sheds in Ireland.
A new board has also been appointed and includes, Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of The Western Development Commission, Liz McCarthy, CEO Scale Ireland, Renate Kohlmann, CEO RK Consulting, John Riordan, Director of Support at Shopify, Tracy Keogh and Laura Hanlon, co-founders of Grow Remote. The Town Taster sessions are being supported by The Western Development Commission who recently launched a new campaign called ‘More To Life’ encouraging more people to make the move west.
The first town taster events are limited to a small number of participants per county. Those interested in attending can register here.