Tidy Towns groups in Laois and other counties are to get a share of €1 million to help prepare for the 2021 SuperValu Tidy Towns competition.
This allocation will provide up to €1,000 for every eligible TidyTowns group in the country.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys announced the funding on Christmas eve. It is addition to €1.4 million allocated to these groups at the end of last year.
A statement from her department said TidyTowns groups across the country have continued to keep their communities in excellent condition in 2020, despite the formal competition being cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
The SuperValu TidyTowns competition has been in existence since 1958 and continues to grow in popularity, with a record 924 entries received in 2019. In total, there are 987 eligible TidyTowns groups registered across the country in 2020.
“While the competition did not proceed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have given a commitment that the 2021 competition will go ahead, under an adapted format, if necessary, to comply with public health guidelines," said the Minister.
“With this in mind I was keen to provide some funding to support the efforts of the TidyTowns groups in preparing for next year’s competition and to say ‘thank you’ for the way in which they have made all of our towns and villages better places to live.
“This year, more than ever, we have seen and appreciated the huge contribution the TidyTowns groups make to our communities. Many of them remobilised their efforts to be part of the volunteer response under the Community Call initiative, helping vulnerable and isolated people to cope with the impact of COVID-19.”
“The funding of €1,000 to each eligible group is being provided as a top-up to funding provided at the end of 2019.”
“For next year’s competition, in particular, I am encouraging groups availing of the funding to think about projects based around their green spaces and parks, and also projects that are sensitive to our biodiversity and promote sustainable living.”
“TidyTowns groups are already at the forefront in developing wild flower meadows, pollinator-friendly planting, and initiatives to support our wildlife. I hope this funding can help further support such initiatives, such as local community gardens and allotments,” concluded Minister Humphreys.
All eligible groups will be contacted in the coming weeks with details of how to apply for the extra funding.