Lisacul’s Community Development Company finally had their AGM last week after the Beast from the East moved off. Peter McDonagh was re-elected as Chair, Tom Coppinger was re-elected as Treasurer, and with Michelle Mahon stepping down, Elizabeth Care was elected as Secretary. The committee also produced a Review of what was achieved in 2017.
The cold and change of date meant many people couldn’t attend the meeting to hear the Review in person, so it’s reproduced below.
Lisacul Community Development Company (LCDC) is a company limited by guarantee. It operates with a voluntary board of directors who have overall responsibility for the company and its assets and is managed by a committee of volunteers drawn from the local community who meet formally eight times a year to ensure LCDC operates within the remit of its Memorandum and Articles of Association and to plan projects for the coming year.
The company operates as a business, providing employment to seventeen people and generating audited accounts each year, as well as providing, through the community centre, a focal point for activities in Lisacul.
The Community Development Programme
The Community Development programme had its annual audit by the Department of Social Protection and was again approved to continue to operate with funding of €257,000. The programme is overseen by John Greene and employed sixteen people over the year.
Under the programme, employees undertook minor and major awards in a range of training programmes, ranging from boom sprayer, to first aid, to basic computer skills.
Programme participants, in particular Frank McNulty, were heavily involved in creating the memorial at Shannon’s Cross for Detective Garda John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne.
The nature of the programme means there is a regular turn-over of employees and 2017 was no exception. We welcomed Pat Roddy, Gerry Carty, Helena Gill, and Selina Oram and said goodbye to Robert Saunders, John Greene, Elizabeth Care, Andrew Taylor, and Frank McNulty.
The Resource Centre
The Resource Centre provides a focus for the community, enabling voluntary groups to maximise their effectiveness by providing facilities for events, administrative back up, and additional expertise where needed.
The year the resource centre was used regularly by
- Active Age
- The Ladies Club
- Brightsparks Montessori Preschool
- Lisacul Players
It was also used by the Parents’ Association for their annual Christmas Fair and the Tidy Towns group for occasional meetings. It provided a venue for the Village Tea Party, for refreshments after the Cemetery Mass, a rallying and refreshment point for the Foróige Tractor Run, and to stage the Village Play.
Groups and individual used the administrative facilities offered by the Resource Centre – including photocopying, internet research for college projects, administration for Ros Go Run and Village Play ticket sales, poster designs and publicity for local events, and the creation of an order of service for a wedding.
Promoting art, culture and heritage
In addition to the training carried out under the Community Employment scheme, LCDC also sponsored a series of gardening workshops in the early spring and summer. As well as providing training and advice on gardening, the workshops produced planters for the Montessori preschool and a recipe booklet (based on plants cultivated) for the village.
The 365 project came to an end in February of this year with the creation of an archive of photographs documenting a year of in the life of Lisacul and its townlands. Some of these pictures were used to create a calendar and many others were used on the village website.
In March, Brian John Spencer, an artist from Northern Ireland, visited the village and the community centre as part of his project to visit every county in Ireland in 32 days.
We also provided facilities to the Lisacul Players, enabling them to stage a play over three nights in April.
LCDC is a member of the Public Participation Network which this year offered training in fundraising for village activities, management committee skills and understanding local government structure. Members of the committee signed up for these courses and the skills gained will underpin future activities.
To fulfil its remit to collate and disseminate useful information to the community, LCDC has accounts with Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, and has its own website – LisaculInfo.ie. These social media accounts, together with other village accounts such as Tidy Towns, Brightsparks Montessori, and Active Age, communicate with a huge number of subscribers, locally, nationally and internationally. The website, Flickr and Wikipedia account provide a range of static information about the village, its heritage and its activities, while the social media accounts provide a dynamic and interactive means of promoting a dialogue with local groups and individuals.
In addition to electronic means of communication, the Community Centre hosts the community notice board and contributes to the parish newsletter.
LCDC is charged with ensuring the company has the physical resources necessary to carry out its business. This year we were able to provide insulation for the Community Centre, a complete refurbishment of the kitchen in the Main Hall, new desks in the office and a collapsible stage for the Drama Group. We were also able to purchase sufficient crockery and cutlery to host tea parties for one hundred people (if required) and our tables, chairs and the Burco boiler have been in and out of homes and businesses across Lisacul.
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 greenspaces throughout the village. These include verges, the gardens of the church, graveyards and burial spaces, the handball alley, and the sensory garden attached to Brightsparks Montessori school. This last was formally opened by Denis Naughton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in July of this year.
However, our indoor space – the Community Centre – is well used. In addition to classes for children and space for rehearsals, the Centre has been used for First Communion parties and as a space for the community to come together after funerals.
We had an exceptionally good year in applying for grants, with €20,134 secured from Municipal Funding and SEAI, and a further €1,000 from Community Facilities for office refurbishment. Donations from local groups contributed a further €1,350, while annual fundraising events raised €3,767. These funds have been used to refurbish the kitchen, insulate the building, and for the day to day running of the Community Centre. We are grateful to our local councillors, Michael Creaton, Nigel Dineen, and Paschal Fitzmaurice, for their assistance in and support for our grant applications.
Facilities for Children
The Community Centre hosts Brightsparks Montessori pre-school, providing twenty two places for children from 2½ to 5½.
The Centre also provides facilities for the Foróige group, for Bláithín Leonard’s Song and Drama Group, and for Eithne Fahy’s School of Dance, all of which take children of school age.
The Centre hosted communion and graduation parties for children during the year.
After the major works carried out this year, our plans for 2017-2018 are slightly less ambitious. We are also aware that we were exceptionally fortunate in our applications for municipal funding and do not anticipate being quite so successful this year. We will continue to take every opportunity to apply for grant funding to further enhance our facilities, both for the centre and throughout the village.