Rural Development (LEADER) Programme 2014-2020 Public Consultation

That’s the kind of heading I would usually pass over without giving it a second thought. However, Future-Proof Wexford changes all that doesn’t it! If we can play a part in how policy for Co Wexford is formulated then it is up to us to go for it.

An interesting development is that for the definition of this round of LEADER, Wexford Town is classified as “rural” for the first time ever.

A series of meetings takes place around the county from next week. The Wexford Town workshop is next Monday night (Sept 21) at 7.30pm in the Talbot Hotel. The organisers are hoping that as many different interests as possible feed into the process of identifying priorities.

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Wexford Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021

September 22 is the deadline for submissions to Wexford County Council if we want to have a say in shaping Wexford Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021.

A draft Socio-Economic Statement identifying the following six high level goals has been prepared:
1 Foster the culture of educational attainment and lifelong learning in County Wexford and provide opportunities to develop educational and workforce skills, to improve work readiness and access to employment.
2 Support and promote the development of socially inclusive sustainable communities in County Wexford.
3 Position and market County Wexford as a great place to live, work, visit and do business.
4 Develop an outstanding business environment for starting, growing and attracting business to County Wexford.
5 Continue to protect and enhance our infrastructure and promote resource efficiency in order to create the right conditions for long term sustainable economic growth.
6 Protect and sensitively utilise our natural, built and cultural heritage assets and capitalise on their economic potential.

You might just as easily call this a draft Future-Proofing Wexford plan as our discussion at last week’s launch covered, or at least touched on, all of these areas.

Please have a look at the draft statement and goals to get a better idea where the Council is coming from on this. Then get your suggestions into me. I will get a submission in on Monday.

This Changes Everything – Irish Premier

11958179_975497202513125_6616316645027913895_oHappenings, in association with Stop Climate Chaos, presents the Irish premiere of ‘This Changes Everything’ at an open-air screening in Dublin’s Merrion Square on Saturday 26th September. They also hope to have a video linkup with author & speaker Naomi Klein. Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s best-selling book of the same name This Changes Everything is a powerful rallying-cry for a global movement to take on the challenge of climate change.

This event will be as much mini-fiesta as film screening as the organisers have lined up live music from Mundy and Oliver Cole, a couple of DJs, Irish Village Markets food stalls and games such as Climate Chaos Croquet. Ben & Jerry’s will be doling out free ice cream. 

This event will also be collecting names for a climate change petition to take positive action in Paris at COP 21 this December.

Successful Launch of Future-Proof Wexford

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Thanks to everyone who came to the Future-Proof Wexford launch at Wexford Library. Full house. Guest speaker Davie Philip delivered a stimulating and inspiring presentation at the heart of which was the need to change how we do things, to change how we interact with our environment, and to understand better the benefits of working together. Only by taking this route can we hope to build resilience (a very important concept to Davie!). Without in-built resilience he believes that any systems, plans, policies we put in place will not stand the test of time, especially given the challenges that lie ahead.

Davie invited us to say what exactly it is that makes living in County Wexford so special, or otherwise. Not surprisingly SUN, SEA and SAND placed top of the list with culture, arts, people, nice place to live following. There were negatives too such as lack of job opportunities, loss of young people as a result, insufficient green spaces in urban areas, lack of community spirit. Davie followed up by asking us to think about how we, as individuals and organisations, might change the way we organise, how we do things so as to achieve long-term efficiencies and benefits.

He then spoke about the ground-breaking and innovative project that is the Cloughjordan Eco-Village. I think it is fair to say that we were all captivated by his story. A bunch of people come together and decide they want to develop an eco-village. From scratch. At the height of the Celtic Tiger property boom! They identify a site near a village in Co Tipperary, pay a ridiculous amount of money for it, start developing it, lose a load of their site purchasers when the market crashes. Yet they persevere. They manage to raise / borrow enough to put in place the necessary infrastructure (remember this is an eco-village so we are talking serious infrastructure). Houses are built and completed, families move in. Local schools are delighted because the influx of children to their sparsely attended classrooms means they will not lose teachers. They build an enterprise centre for the eco-entrepreneur, a place where ideas-people can share resources and associate with like-minded go-getters. They put in place one of the first digital fabrication labs in the country – hardware hacking comes to Cloughjordan! The vast solar panels banks don’t work yet because the company that installed them went belly up. While they are working on getting these connected they are using wood pellets in communal burners that heat all the houses. Even without the functioning solar panels the ecological footprint of the houses in this development is a 1/3 of the national average. They grow loads of fruit and veg on site; they bake bread on site. The cooperative spirit is strong. This is a good place in which to grow up, a place in which you would be happy to grow old.

How the hell is Wexford going to follow that! Davie points out to us that this is a story from which we can take inspiration, one which can jolt us into re-thinking how we go about things here in Wexford. We can use it to kick-start our future-proofing initiative. The challenge is now for individuals, business and other organisations to look at where we are now, where we want to be in the future, and what we need to do to get us there.

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Thanks for stopping by. Bet you are a civic-minded soul with an independent streak and a can-do attitude!

What’s this all about? We think we, as in the people of Wexford, can better prepare for the future and make much more of what we have by working together. Better infrastructure, better local economy, better environment and, ultimately, stronger communities. We all have a part to play.