When there’s money ……

I was at a funding master class recently and while I was there I totalled the funding I was granted for projects in Lisdoonvarna during 2017. I surprised myself and then realised why I need a break! Funding is great but it generates work – the initial application, coordinating the project and just when you think it’s all over there’s the comprehensive report essential if you are to actually get the money. Moan over 🙂

When seeking funding for community development you need to ensure that the participating community agrees with what is being done. Most funders now want to see an inclusive, shared vision from a community working together. Thankfully this year started with a sustainable community course between January and March which initiated the creation of a Sustainable Community Plan. The plan was expanded upon at subsequent events and will always be live. This plan has given us a list of actions and can be amended whenever is necessary such as when new actions are agreed, completed or dropped.

So I decided to apply for some funding for Lisdoonvarna Tidy Towns to help get some projects started and build momentum for the community plan.

For the first time ever I was successful with every application. Rarely the amount I asked for but enough to keep me busy. In total I have to account for €10,750  broken down to:

Clare County Council Waste Prevention Grant – Big Pig composter/digester €500

Irish Environmental Network Biodiversity Week Event & Photo Competition €400

Clare County Council Creative Ireland Sustainable Community Art workshops €750

The Heritage Council for Heritage Week €1,000

Clare County Council Creative Ireland fund for Heritage Week €1,000

ChangeX Burren to help establish Lisdoonvarna Mens Shed €500

LADDER* funding for Sustainable Economic Vision €4,300

LA21** Funding to purchase metal drink bottles for the Secondary School €400

LA21** Sustainable Growing with the Primary School €400

LA21** Sustainable Community Plan – Consultation and Actions €1,500

*LADDER – Local Authorities Drivers for Development Education and Raising Awareness

**LA21– Matched funding from Clare County Council and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

We were very lucky with bridging the gap between the offer and receiving the payment to run Heritage Week because Lisdoonvarna Failte loaned us some money until the reports could be completed and payment made to Tidy Towns.

Here are some links to the completed projects where feasible:

Lisdoonvarna Biodiversity Facebook Page and photos sent in to the competition. We hosted a photo competition throughout the month of May and a biodiversity awareness workshop on May 20th during Biodiversity week.

Lisdoonvarna Heritage Week Facebook page which includes the Art workshops. This was a massive project with 16 free events of which 14 were family friendly workshops based on “It’s in your Nature” theme for National Heritage Week 2017. These included foraging for food, herbs and medicine; art through animation imaging natures heroes within our environment; hearing about the geology of the landscape; bat walk; moth traps; bee talks; nature walks; bug hotels; woodland exploration and more.

Sustainable Economy Vision Photos & Blog Report The Transition Year students at Mary Immaculate Secondary School embarked on a project to show what a sustainable local economy might look like in a thriving Lisdoonvarna.

Next up the Mens Shed which has been bubbling away under the surface for a few years now. The Big Pig was delivered to the primary school last month so we’ll have a waste workshop and begin the LA21 projects in the new year.

Then there were the projects that didn’t require funding! It was great to get the funding and achieve so much. I’m used to saying that every cent can make voluntary community development work more fulfilling because you can achieve more with some money – even if it’s to provide tea and a space for people to meet. This year was a fruitful year.

Just editing to include my reaction to this post on Facebook!

The gratitude and acknowledgment is definitely a bonus I hadn’t anticipated when I was cataloging the funding. Thanks for all the kind words. I am mindful that many people consider praise and pride in yourself as some sort of negative vanity – almost narcissism. Having taken so long to build confidence and work hard to get to the stage where I can get funding, coordinate and carry through on sustainability projects I’m okay with being proud of myself and that’s not narcissism. That’s not the reason I wrote it but I’m mindful of perceptions. Sharing my story may also help others to grow. I also think we need to be openly grateful and praise our volunteers more – in the absence of money it may be the only acknowledgment and gratitude they get. Thanks again and go hug a volunteer

Theresa O’Donohoe

November 24th 2017

Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

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