Founding member and Secretary of Passage West Tidy Towns; ongoing volunteer work and liaison with SECAD
We had been lucky in Passage West to have a full-time litter picking service provided by Cork County Council. But this service was withdrawn in 2008. The condition of the streets deteriorated dramatically.
In 2009, I suggested to Cork County Council that I might be able to rally a group of friends to do some litterpicking and weeding. I was dismayed to be told that insurance was necessary if any group was to even voluntarily do such work on the public road. So I paid for an insurance policy, called a meeting of people who were interested in the town and together, we started Passage West/Glenbrook Tidy Towns.
The group has gone from strength to strength and my insurance policy has been long since paid back! Some volunteers have fallen off, new ones have joined. Finding regular volunteers is always a struggle, but we have worked hugely successfully with clubs and organisations in the town. The work we do creates tremendous goodwill and the town looks immeasurably brighter as a result. We are fortunate that FÁS has provided us with excellent workers and we are currently liaising with SECAD with a view to obtaining another assistant under the TÚS scheme. I served as Chairperson of the group for two years and am now Secretary. One of the tasks in this role is to put together grant applications each year for projects we identify as worthwhile. I am pleased to say we have been very successful in this regard also.
Grants are most welcome but cannot alone keep the show on the road. We organise a couple of fundraising events every year and are helped greatly by a regular voluntary donation from the expenses of the Town Council’s elected members. While very proud of the fact that Passage West won the award for the biggest points increase in the South Cork category of the National Tidy Towns competition last year, the work we do is really all about making our town a more pleasant and prosperous place to live.