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06 Jul 2022

'Stunning and spotless' Laois town wins another big award

'Stunning and spotless' Laois town  wins another big award

Mary White of Abbeyleix Tidy Towns collects the Pride of Place award from Chairperson of Co-operation Ireland Dr Christopher Moran and George Jones, Chair of IPB Insurance.

Abbeyleix Tidy Towns won a prestigious Pride of Place community award on Monday evening (May 16) at a gala ceremony in Killarney, County Kerry.

The awards, hosted by RTE’s Marty Whelan, took place in Kerry’s INEC centre with 400 community volunteers in attendance. The committee claimed top spot in the Population 1000-2000 population category.

Judges praised Abbeyleix Tidy Town for their longstanding commitment to community development.

“This was a wonderful visit to this stunning and spotless small town, that has embraced the spirit of Pride of Place over many years.

“The exceptional presentation demonstrating how this town looks after every aspect of its people, culture and heritage impressed the judges. The community’s approach to relationship building at every level was very powerful as was its tenacity and professional approach to embracing its wonderful heritage and climate action initiatives.

“The judges want to visit this place again and spend some time enjoying the spectacular bog project,” they said.

It's the latest of several awards to be scooped by the very active Tidy Town's Group. Abbeyleix was named as Ireland's Tidiest Small Town at the national Tidy Town's award in 2021. 

Laois County Council nominated Abbeyleix Tidy Towns for the Pride of Place Awards.

Robbie Quinn, Chairman of Abbeyleix Tidy Towns, said they were absolutely delighted to win the award on behalf of the community of Abbeyleix. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

"We have been blessed with a beautiful heritage town and everything we do, we do for the common good and the benefit of everyone who resides in our community. Abbeyleix Tidy Towns are charged with creating a community that continues to be an attractive place to live, to work and to visit.  Our focus is now on placemaking and on reimagining our beautiful heritage town as a smart and sustainable community that is fit for the 21st Century.

"We have an inclusive ethos and work hard to engage the wider community in all our work. We collaborate freely with external groups and institutions and maintain a very positive working relationship with a range of public bodies and agencies, not least our Local Authority, Laois County Council who supports us at every level and with every request. We promote a support local ethos and are currently working on significant flagship biodiversity and climate actions projects that will move us forward on our journey to become a truly sustainable community.  

"We wish to acknowledge the huge amount of work done by so many people. We would also like to thank, each and every one of our volunteers and supporters for their time and tireless commitment to our community. We need to continue this work. We take immense pride in our heritage and our town. The one common theme amongst our volunteers is that we ‘Love where we Live’. A special mention of sincere thanks must be extended to our colleagues on Abbeyleix Bog Project, who helped us deliver a knockout presentation back in September 2021.

"Finally, we will only consider our community development a success when those who are marginalised and excluded from society are enabled to gain self-confidence and to join with others. In practising what we preach , everyone is encouraged to participate in our plans and actions to change their situation and to tackle the problems that face our community for the greater good.

"We now look forward to a busy summer of  looking after our town and thanks the local community and businesses who continue to support us year on year," he said. 

More below picture.

Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 19 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development. 

It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the island of Ireland.

President Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland with Queen Elizabeth, said the awards played an important role.

“The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.”

Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said; "These Awards continue to be as important as ever as we are about to start judging the 20th year of the competition. The purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational, and tireless work being done by communities all over the island of Ireland as they strive to maketheir place a better place in which to live.”

Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman of Co-operation Ireland said: "Co-operation Ireland has no other programme that embodies the charity's ethos better than Pride of Place.

“We work to build relationships across the island and Pride of Place plays a critical role in that work.  The impact the awards have had in towns and villages across the island since they started in 2003 cannot be underestimated, and the continuing success of the awards is down to the dedicated volunteers and their love of where they live.

George Jones Chairman, IPB Insurance said: “The IPB Pride of Place Awards are an ideal platform to recognise the positive social impacts being made in communities across the island of Ireland. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all the communities involved for their spirit of collaboration and camaraderie in making it to the finals.

“It is also important to recognise the role of local authorities across the island of Ireland who work closely with their communities to support inspiring voluntary initiatives. These awards serve as one of the important ways that we can recognise those involved in working to make a difference in society,” he said.

The Competition and Awards is sponsored by IPB Insurance. More information on IPB can be found at http://ipb.ie

 The Competition is overseen by the Pride of Place Committee, which is part of Co-operation Ireland’s Local Authorities Programme. 

Co-operation Ireland manages the delivery of the annual competition. For further information on the work of Co-operation Ireland visit www.cooperationireland.org

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