final call for registrations has been issued by SECAD, whose Sustainable Communities Training Programme is set to kick off on 15th September in south and west Cork.
The innovative course, which runs from this September until May 2022, is open to community groups, volunteers, businesses, young people and individuals from 16 communities across south and west Cork. The programme encourages participants to learn and apply sustainable practices in order to safeguard the future of the towns they live and work in. This programme is free to participants as it is fully funded by the LEADER programme (2014-2020).
The initial phase of the programme involves a series of sustainability workshops. The workshops in both south Cork and west Cork will start on Wednesday evening 15th September from 7 to 9pm with sessions delivered weekly after that. Each workshop will be delivered via Zoom.
These online group classes will give participants practical solutions to sustainability issues that can be implemented within their communities. The topic of sustainability in its many forms will be covered throughout the programme, from biodiversity and energy consumption to agriculture and town planning. Participants will be privy to real-life examples of other communities that successfully implemented sustainability practices. Those taking part will also learn about specific funding available to aid these community efforts.
Heading up the south Cork training panel is Change by Degrees, while the west Cork communities involved will be mentored by VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment).
Sixteen communities in south and west Cork will proceed to develop detailed community-led sustainability plans throughout 2021 and 2022. Each community will work as a Community Development Team, which can include key community volunteers associated with existing community organisations and members of the business community. A specific focus will be placed on diversity within the group in terms of ethnicity, family structure, disability, age and gender. The training programme is designed to work around busy lifestyles and therefore will not be conducted during school holidays.
The communities which have successfully applied for the programme include Douglas, Midleton, Passage West, Glounthaune, Castlemartyr, Youghal, Cobh & Great Island, Carrigtwohill, Baltimore, Clonakilty, Kinsale, Carrigaline, Courceys area and Tracton Parish. The overall outcome for the communities participating in the full programme is the creation and implementation of a sustainability plan. This plan will take the form of a roadmap for the town or village in question, which will be expertly reviewed in advance of publication. Design-led elements of the plan will be overseen by an architect and will include specifications and costings. The programme will end in Autumn 2022 with communities presenting their work in a showcase event.
As the closing date for registration approaches, Nuala O Connell from SECAD encouraged applicants to come forward to secure the last remaining places.
“This programme not only acknowledges and respects the importance of our many wonderful local communities, but it strives to protect and improve them for future generations,” Nuala said. “Sustainable living within a community setting is a responsibility we all share, and we must each do our part to live and lead through sustainability for the benefit of our communities.”
She continued: “This programme is custom-made for individuals that are eager to learn more about sustainable practices and to act accordingly. It also provides a unique opportunity for participants to link with fellow community members – something we have all been deprived of for far too long.”
Registration for the SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme closes on Monday 13th September. To register, visit www.secad.ie/leader/sustainable-communities.
SECAD contact Nuala O’Connell firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 9672515