Community organisations are a significant driver of the overall prosperity in every city and town, in every county across the country. County Kilkenny has a strong tradition of community cooperation and collaboration. It is important to recognise and reward those communities who come together to work with the Local Authority and state agencies to contribute to this prosperity.
Kilkenny County Council is involved to some extent in every community across the city and county. From the provision of traditional services such as Roads, Housing, Planning etc, to support work with local communities to assist those urban and rural communities to reach their potential. In addition the Council provides grant assistance under a series of schemes, as well as funding community organisations directly. By providing such assistance the Council is helping to build the resilience which is so necessary to allow communities to flourish, even in difficult times.
2018 was a very positive year for Kilkenny with many groups being recognised at international, national, regional & county level. Thirteen communities from across Kilkenny represented their county at a number of international and national competitions - Entente Florale, The Bank of Ireland National Enterprising Town Awards, the IPB Pride of Place Awards and SuperValu Tidy Towns.
On Wednesday January 16th, Kilkenny County Council & An Cathoirleach Cllr. Eamon Aylward hosted a reception to acknowledge, congratulate and thank these groups for their dedication and hard work within their respective communities.
Entente Florale is a competition organised by the European Association for Flowers and Landscape with the aim of enhancing horticulture, tourism and environmental awareness and promoting a greener and more pleasant environment in European towns and villages. Inistioge was one of only two locations in Ireland nominated by the Department of Rural & Community Development for the 2018 Entente Florale Awards. They were rewarded with a Gold Medal.
The Bank of Ireland National Enterprising Town Awards competition aims to promote enterprise by bringing business and community groups together to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local town. 2018 saw over 80 entrants from across the country with four entrants coming from Kilkenny - Kilkenny City in the Larger Town Category and Castlecomer, Graiguenamanagh & Piltown in the Smaller Town Category. The final awards night took place in the Lyrath Hotel Kilkenny on late November where Kilkenny City was named winner of the Regional Large Town in Leinster while Castlecomer were placed Runner Up Small Town in Leinster.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition in association with Co-operation Ireland acknowledges the invaluable work undertaken by communities and groups across the island of Ireland. It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements. The competition focus is about people coming together to shape, change and improve daily lives in their communities. Four communities represented Kilkenny at these awards - Open Circle Arts Project, Thomastown Community Network, Kells Regional Economic Enterprise and Slieverue Community Resource Centre Limited. Open Circle received a Special National Award, Thomastown were runners up in the Town Population 2000-5000 Category with Kells awarded Runners Up in the Community Tourism Initiative.
The SuperValu Tidy Towns Scheme recognises the hard work and dedication of volunteers who work tirelessly to improve their towns, villages and community life. Kilkenny had 18 applicants with all groups recording an increase in points from the previous year. 4 groups were in receipt of National Awards:
- Kilkenny Tidy Towns /Keep Kilkenny Beautiful were Gold Medal Winners, County Winners and Regional Winners in the South East while also recipients of a Water & Community Award for the South East,
- Tullaghought Tidy Towns achieved Silver medal in their category while the village was also awarded the 'Let's Get Buzzing Pollinator Award for the South East for their pollinator project. In addition Paddy & Mary Egan, two stalwarts of the community in Tullaghought for many years were highly commended in the Community Heros Category.
- Inistioge Tidy Towns were awarded a silver medal in their category
- Windgap Tidy Towns were awarded an Endeavour Award in the Special Awards Category.
At local level, Kilkenny County Council Tidy Estates Competition aims to encourage residents to take an active role in improving the physical appearance of their estate. Winners for the 2018 competition under the Large, Medium & Small Estate Categories were announced on the night as follows:
1st Woodview, Freshford ; 2nd Chapelfield, Urlingford ; 3rd Bellfield Estate, Ferrybank
1st St Marys Ave Urlingford; 2nd Brandon Park, Graiguenamanagh; 3rd Assumption Place, Urlingford
1st Fr Raftice Place, Moneenroe; 2nd Ard Aoibheann, Inistioge; 3rd Hillcrest, Piltown
Kilkenny County Council wishes to say a big thank you and well done to all participating communities for their dedication and continued hard work in their local communities. An Cathaoirleach Cllr. Eamon Aylward commended the great work being carried out by all community groups throughout County Kilkenny and stated that it was great to see these efforts being recognised and rewarded at a national level.