A look back at 2019

We had our AGM last night. A big thank you to everyone who braved the weather and came to hear what we’d been up to and what we plan for next year.

To keep everyone up to speed here is our Review of 2019.

Remember – if you’d like to join the Development Committee, we meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 8pm and, although we get a lot done, the meetings rarely last more than 45 minutes.

Introduction

Welcome to our review of the Development Company’s activities and achievements in 2019.

None of these would be possible without the unstinting help and assistance of the members of the Development Committee, the CE Teams (both A and B), the members of the many clubs and societies of Lisacul and, of course, the people of Lisacul themselves.

I would like to thank sincerely the CE Team led and managed by John Greene, and all associated with the scheme for all their hard work throughout the year.

I’d also like to thank the outgoing committee for all their support and work during the year. Keeping communities alive and thriving takes commitment from the organisers and support from our community – some events are successful and some we learn from, however the same effort and commitment goes in from the committee members to each event and without their unfailing support, Lisacul Community Development Company and the community we live in would not thrive as we do.

2019 was another busy year as you will read in more detail below. One of our aims is to get a community event for each month of the year and I’m delighted to say we’re nearly there! New people bring new ideas and fresh energy to a community and a committee and I’d appeal to anyone who is willing to join the committee and help out to come along and join – many hands make light work!

Thanks again for all your support and here’s to another successful year in our community.

The Community Employment Programme

The Community Employment scheme contract was again awarded thanks to the impressive work put in by Supervisor John Greene and his team, ably supported by Tom Coppinger. This enables us to continue the employment of sixteen people over the year, albeit with some changes of personnel – we said goodbye to Tony Foley and Nina Oram, and welcomed Carol Warren to the team.

We began the year by teaming up with the Ballinlough scheme to plan joint work and joint training courses, giving both teams experience in different environments.

We carried on our usual work schedule of village maintenance, leaf sweeping, verge trimming, and litter picking in both villages, and looking after the nets, clubhouse and grounds at Éire Óg. We repainted the interior of Lisacul Community Centre and Éire Óg. In the office, we provided administrative assistance to various Clubs and Societies and to the hosts of several birthday parties held at the Centre.

At the end of the year, the team set up for both the Christmas Party and Tommy Gallagher’s 100th birthday party, built Cribs and grottoes, sleds for Santa and hung the Christmas lights.

In the summer, a cohort of CE members completed a Major Award in Horticulture, while others continued their Business Administration training. Short courses undertaken through the year included manual handling, Safepass accreditation, and food safety.

Jean Timothy, the Development Officer overseeing the contract, retired from the DSP and was presented with a card and gift following her farewell visit to the office. The new CDO, Anne Conlon, also dropped in to visit and we look forward to working with her in the future.

The Resource Centre and the Community Centre

The Resource Centre continues to be well used, providing facilities for events, administrative back up, and additional expertise to our community groups where needed.

The Administrator for Brightsparks uses a desk in the Resource Centre, while local groups – such as Active Age, the Ladies Club, Brightsparks Preschool Committee, Lisacul Players, and Tidy Towns – and individuals used the administrative facilities offered by the Resource Centre for photocopying, internet research for college projects, administration for Ros Go Run and Village Play ticket sales, and poster designs and publicity for local events.

Use of the halls also increased. We hosted three birthday parties, two for children and one for Tommy Gallagher’s 100th birthday. The parents have told us how much they appreciated the ease of using the hall, especially how little tidying they had to do and not having to worry about the weather, as there is plenty of space for children to run around.

During the year, we had a fire safety audit of the whole building and, while the building is safe to use, we will be upgrading some aspects of the fire alarm system.

Promoting art, culture and heritage

In addition to our support to GAA facilities in Lisacul – the Handball Alley and James Timothy Park – we added a hay rake, possibly the one featured in the DVD of village events in 1937, to the old farm machinery project.

The two cultural highlights of the year were the Seán Keane concert and the annual play, both of which were well attended by people from Lisacul and further afield.

In August, we organised a walk to the Children’s burial ground at Calvary followed by refreshments at the Community Centre.

Community Development

We were delighted to provide space for ‘The Big Hello’ picnic, hosted by Tidy Towns, in May, which drew a large number of visitors to the hall.

We entered Pride of Place and hosted a visit from the adjudicators and several public representatives, among them Senator Maura Hopkins, Senior Executive Pat Murtagh, Claudette Collins, Councillors  Orla Leyden, Kathleen Shanagher, Paschal Fitzmaurice, and Anthony Waldron, and TD Eugene Murphy, as well as representatives from village clubs and societies.

Information Resource

Our Facebook page continues to be an excellent means of communicating with the community and the diaspora. At the end of 2019, we had 474 followers on the page and business owners within the community have used the page to advertise their services.

The parish newsletter continues to appear on the website, and this year we added a community newsletter to highlight the many clubs and societies in Lisacul and to publicise the work of the Community Development Company.

In the middle of the year, fibre broadband arrived in Lisacul and we signed up as soon as it was available to the hall. The high speeds this provides has transformed the work in the Resource Centre and throughout the Centre, and enables more services to be provided in the village.

We also attended a Digital Strategies Workshop in October, listening to an address from Sean Canney, Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development and giving feedback and input, including a suggested village skills audit and a village virtual assistant, for inclusion in the development of a three-year Digital roadmap for each county.

Managing Resources

LCDC is charged with ensuring the company has the physical resources necessary to carry out its business.

We continue to reap the rewards of the new insulation installed in 2018, and the cost of the new fibre broadband is less than we were paying our previous provider. We continue to review and compare utility provider costs to ensure we are getting the best value for money.

Recreation Space

The company does not have sufficient outdoor space to provide gardens and greenhouses for general use however, through its management of the CE scheme, and cooperation with other local schemes, it looks after many of the green spaces throughout the village. These include verges, the gardens of the church, graveyards and burial spaces, the handball alley, the sensory garden attached to Brightsparks Preschool, and beds and planting boxes throughout the village.

We now have the use of a polytunnel and, although it was not possible to bring this into use last year, we hope to have it up and productive in the near future.

Ros Go Run added a five kilometre route to their established 10k and half marathon routes and this has encouraged more people to take exercise along the route.

Fundraising

Despite the absence of Municipal District Funding in 2019, we still managed to bring in funds throughout the year.

The principal contributor was the Alan O’Dowd fund, generated from a football tournament held in memory of Alan. This provided new catering tables and chairs, cups and saucers, milk jugs, trays and a plethora of other equipment, which will enable us to host parties and events of up to 100 people.

Renting the hall for events such as The Big Hello and birthday parties brought in further funds, and we were able to access a Communities and Heritage grant for non-capital expenses involved in the Sean Keane concert and the annual play as well as a contribution from Roscommon County Council towards the Pride of Place entry.

Donations from Ros Go Run and Lisacul Players were gratefully received and the Cemetery Mass, as ever, provided a welcome boost to the funds in midsummer.

Facilities for Children

Brightsparks Preschool continues to have a home in the centre and has been able to expand its hours thanks to Pobal funding. The Toddler Group is now established on Thursday morning with a regular, if small, attendance, and Eithne Fahy still welcomes children to classes every Friday during the school terms.

Children were also welcomed into the centre for Easter, Hallowe’en and Christmas parties and discos, and to birthday and communion parties throughout the year.

Future Plans

We will be able to apply for Municipal District Funding in 2020 and will be seeking funding for health and safety compliant office chairs, new lead flashing and minor repairs to the roof, and re-insulation of cold spots in the Memorial Hall.

We are establishing a regular schedule of events with the aim of having something happening every month. At present we plan a quiz in Creaton’s in February, the play in April, a Midsummer Walk in June, the Cemetery Mass in July, a walk to Calvary in August, the Ros Go Run in September and a village tea party in late autumn, together with the usual Hallowe’en and Christmas festivities.