In the 18 months since it formed, Stradbally Community Development Association has made positive changes to the Laois town.
Based from an office in St Mary's Hall, the SCDA has already succeeded in moving the town's recycling depot to a new improved area behind SuperValu, with the help of Laois County Council.
It is also working to ensure that the sale of the old convent, a boarded up preserved building that dominates the town's landscape, will go through successfully.
“This sale is in progress and we hope it can soon move on,” said the Chairman Donal O'Shea.
The association is also pushing the need for decent broadband across Stradbally to Laois County Council.
“I know it has been a source of frustration, but we are getting attention to it again to allow the community to go forward,” Mr O'Shea said at their first public meeting in St Colman's Hall on October 17.
The association is hoping that having a five year community development plan will help to win national grants for a host of projects in the town.
“This will be a sustainable development plan for the future of the community,” Mr O'Shea said.
They welcome more people to volunteer their time and talent.
“It is not a closed shop. We have good people on board but we need more hands to reach Stradbally’s full potential. This is a five year plan so we new energy will be very welcome throughout that time,” he said.
Other members include Yvonne Hennessy, Melissa Duncan Ryan, Niall Creery, Ann Simpson, Joe Oakley and Matthew Kelly.
The chairman explains why they formed.
“We were part of the Stradbally Vicarstown Timahoe hub, but to further develop Stradbally we needed to set up as a separate entity,” he said.
They have been given 90 percent funding from Laois County Development committee through Laois Partnership. The 10 percent shortfall is met with a grant from the Electric Picnic residents committee.
A previous group, Stradbally Development Association ended in 2013 and Mr O'Shea acknowledges their work .
“I hope this lights a new spark for Stradbally that we can make a reality,” said Donal O'Shea.
The next public meeting is on November 14, at which the key actions will be outlined to go in the development plan. All are welcome.