Mountrath's Bloom HQ is Pride of Laois

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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Special Award winners Bloom HQ, with Laois County Council CEO John Mulholland

A Mountrath social enterprise initiative was honoured at the All-Ireland 2019 Pride of Place Awards held in Kilkenny last weekend.

The Bloom HQ enterprise hub took a special award after judges said it was a “an admirable enterprise whose aim is to achieve a favourable work life balance through provision of a sustainable business hub and a range of wellness services thus meeting all community needs”.

Nominated by Laois County Council, Bloom HQ won in the Creative Place Initiative category. The award was received by Martin Meade, Eddie Phelan, Andrea Deering, Samantha Hayes, Joey Hearns, Ed Dunne and Gina Reidy.

The community of Mountrath impressed the judges and demonstrated how Mountrath Community Forum have transformed the Old Convent into a vibrant community and economic hub.

“A cohesive community effort transformed an 1809 disused convent, renovated by locals, into an expressive, colourful, high tech workspace. Imaginative planning created work, training, wellness and community facilities on site and the symbiotic relationship between them breeds long term sustainability.”

Dubbed the ‘Oscars of the community sector’ the Pride of Place awards are an annual competition organised by Co-operation Ireland and sponsored by IPB Insurance.

The awards promote and celebrate the best in community development and recognises the selfless efforts of people in making their local neighbourhoods better places to live, work and socialise.

Ed Dunne is chairman of Bloom HQ. He says the group is delighted to be recognised to have created something from nothing.

“It is fantastic to get some national recognition. We were one of six special awards recipients on the night.

“Things are going fantastically. We have four resident large companies and are booked up for meetings. We have multiple companies from all over Laois to have events there. We are actually making money now. We are covering our cost and have about 50% of growth to happen,” he said.

Laois County Council congratulated all involved. “This community group is to be commended for continuing to work together to increase people’s pride in where they live and in turn help to build the vibrant community we see in Mountrath,” said a statement.

The Gala Awards Ceremony was attended by Chief Executive of Laois County Council John Mulholland; the Cathaoirleach was represented on the night by Cllr. James Kelly, Carmel McNicholl, SEO Laois County Council and representatives from Mountrath Community Forum.