There was great success for Fingal at the IPB Pride of Place Awards as Flemington, Balbriggan was awarded ‘Best Urban Neighbourhood’ and the residents of the Whitestown Estate, Dublin 15 were runners-up in the ‘Best Housing Estate’ category at the Awards in Kilkenny on Saturday evening. 900 representatives from counties across Ireland gathered in the Lyrath Estate Hotel for the Annual Pride of Place awards, hosted by Kilkenny County Council.
The neighbourhood of Flemington in north-west Balbriggan is one of the fastest growing new communities in Ireland and the new Community Centre in Flemington is the neighbourhood hub where many new clubs and groups have emerged in recent years. The judges were highly impressed with the rich variety of active clubs in Flemington providing an inclusive environment for all who wished to participate in their activities. They were provided with an excellent presentation on the work of the various groups and saw for themselves the truly pioneering efforts to reach out to everyone in the community.
The area also takes in Bremore Castle which was restored in partnership with a DDETB training programme and gained national exposure as HQ for this year’s Operation Transformation on RTE. The Flemington Local Development Group (FLDG) which is coordinated by the Fingal Community Development Office is a forum for representatives from the local community, local authority, state agency and local development in the Flemington area to work collaboratively to address issues emerging at a local level. With busy Foróige youth projects and a strong integration forum, the urban neighbourhood of Flemington is very much reflective of present day Fingal and modern Ireland.
Runners-up in the ‘Best Housing Estate’ category were the Whitestown Estate, Dublin 15 residents. The group has recently embarked on an ambitious community arboretum project to remember deceased members of the local community within the estate and were recognised for their hard work and dedication to their local area.
Speaking about the awards Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien said: “I would like to congratulate the residents of Flemington and Whitestown for their fantastic community work which was recognised in these awards. The Pride of Place awards are very special as they recognise the significant positive impact of the partnership approach between Local Authorities and community groups in building sustainable, inclusive communities that are great places to live, and that residents are right to be proud of.”
Margaret Geraghty Director of Housing and Community praised the achievement saying: “These two Pride of Place awards for the Fingal area are a testament to the ongoing work of the Fingal Community Development staff in fostering relationships with and assisting local community and residents groups to bring about real and lasting improvements in their communities.”
Chief Executive of Fingal AnnMarie Farrelly said: “Well done the Flemington and Whitestown communities and our own Community Development office on doing Fingal proud in the Pride of Place awards. This Urban Neighbourhood award for the Flemington area is yet another positive story for Balbriggan where Fingal County Council and Our Balbriggan are implementing an imaginative rejuvenation plan. The competition showcased how Fingal County Council is working in partnership with other agencies, local businesses and the community and voluntary sector to harness local pride and enthusiasm to build a vibrant and inclusive community in the Flemington area. The Our Balbriggan €20million-plus rejuvenation plan is an ambitious new vision for the town, which has been shaped by the views of its population following award winning public engagement which saw 4000 people responding.”
Sponsored by IPB, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 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.