A thriving Mountrath community run project has proudly and ably represented Laois in the national IPB All Island Pride of Place competition.
Bloom HQ Enterprise Hub was selected by Laois County Council to represent the county in the Creative Place Initiative category.
There was great pride evident in Mountrath locals as they met the judges on Monday July 8.
The judges Tom Coughlan and Blaise Treacy were shown how Mountrath Community Forum has transformed the Old Convent in Mountrath into a vibrant community and economic hub.
An initial presentation to the judges took place in the convent's chapel showing how the convent was transformed and future plans.
The judges then visited the Cottage Market and the newly opened Bloom HQ business hub where they saw The Good Bean Coffee Roastery at work and other stunning workspaces.
The judges met people from some of the activities now moved into the convent that compliment and support the business hub, like the Bikers Shed, Gym, School of Music, Kids Activity Camp, the camera club, Foroige, scouts and Arthritis Ireland.
They were accompanied by Cathaoirleach Cllr Willie Aird, councillors and TDs, who all spoke of the benefits that Pride of Place brings.
Donal Brennan, Director of Services, Laois County Council praised Bloom HQ and acknowledged the help of local and national agencies to develop Laois socially, culturally and economically.
He praised the strides made by Mountrath Community Forum on the old convent site and emphasised the importance of community spirit.
The judges then congratulated the Laois entry, noting how heartening it is to see communities sustaining themselves and looking after each other. They said that to be chosen to represent Laois meant Bloom HQ is already a winner.
The results of the All-Island competition, which attracts entries from north and south of the border, will be announced by Co-operation Ireland at a gala night in Kilkenny in November.
Pride of Place is sponsored by Irish Public Bodies Insurances Ltd and hosted by Co-operation Ireland under its Local Authority Programme. Its aim is to recognise initiatives taken by local communities to build pride in their area and celebrates the vital contribution that community groups make to society.