Minister Humphreys launched the Tubbercurry REDZ programme on Friday 24th June in the newly refurbished and renamed An Chroí South Sligo Enterprise Centre, which is becoming the centre of a major fight back by the local business community to regenerate South Sligo. The programme has spent over €200k to regenerate the local community since the announcement that Tubbercurry and it hinterland was chosen for the pilot programme last September.
Minister Humphreys said ““Projects under the REDZ programme are playing an important role in energising and supporting the social, cultural and economic development of rural Ireland. The REDZ initiative aims to take a more tailored approach to planning at both a regional and local level. The significant level of local buy-in and involvement is key to the success of the REDZ programme. As we can see here today in Tubbercurry, the local authority and other stakeholders are working together under the REDZ programme to deliver the best for this town. I am delighted that such a diverse range of groups in Tubbercurry will benefit from the €200,000 in funding, not least of all An Chroí South Sligo Enterprise Centre which is supporting local business development. Indeed, the wide breadth of projects which will benefit locally from this REDZ funding is a credit to all involved and it also underlines the fact that a relatively small amount of Government funding can make a huge difference to rural communities. I certainly intend to build on the success of the REDZ programme, while also developing new streams of funding as part of my new brief to help regenerate and revitalise rural Ireland.”
Louise Kilbane, President of Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead on the programme as chairperson of the steering group. Louise said “The project which has generated a new life into the area has been a success with local businesses benefiting from the project, this is only the start for South Sligo, we have a long way to go with further funding required to ensure sustainability and further enhancement of the area. While we are delighted and proud to have successfully spent over €200000, we showed what could be done with small resources. The volunteers have worked tirelessly on the project, which was greatly supported by Sligo County Council”
Businesses in the area are delighted to see fresh enthusiasm and energy in the town once again. “As South Sligo is struggling for employment it great to see the REDZ programme bring new and fresh approach and new opportunities to the area”. Said local retailer John Gillespie, Gillespie’s Menswear and Sport.
Dorothy Clarke, Director of Planning Community and Economic Development explained the background to the project “Sligo County Council are delighted to avail of the opportunity that the REDZ Programme has presented for a targeted intervention in Tubbercurry and the surrounding area and to work in a collaborative way with the local Chamber of Commerce and the local community in delivering on this very important initiative. In September 2015, Sligo County Council was approved an allocation of €150,000 in funding from the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government under the Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) Pilot Initiative which was matched by a local contribution of in excess of €50,000. The REDZ Initiative or the establishment of Rural Economic Development Zones in identified areas was a recommendation of the CEDRA report (Commission for Rural Development in Rural Areas) which was commissioned as a result of the decline and decimation of rural areas compounded by the recent downturn in the economy nationally. The REDZ programme contains a range of measures which are aimed at regenerating Tubbercurry and its hinterland. These projects have been tailored to have the maximum achievable benefit in terms of creating jobs, increasing footfall, improving Tubbercurry digital footprint and up-skilling local businesses and community groups. The REDZ project has engendered a new sense of local cooperation, has garnered support from private, public and community sources and an example of what can be achieved at local level with relatively modest funding. It is we hope a first step in providing much needed focus and investment in rural towns and villages of this nature to counteract the decline and decimation experienced over the last number of years. The REDZ Programme is a very important initiative for Tubbercurry and South Sligo and will hopefully result in regenerating Tubbercurry and its hinterland. Of course further and continuous investment is required for the sustainability of towns like Tubbercurry as the bedrock and vital hub of rural economic development zones. We hope with the renewed focus by the new Government on the development of rural areas and particularly now that a new Minister has been appointed that this will result in further investment in initiatives like in the near future.”
The areas benefiting from the funding have being diverse including both business and community groups. The An Chroí South Sligo Enterprise Centre is now the focus for business growth and development in South Sligo with office space for rent, hot desking and training facilities. The centre is fully functional, has tenants in situ and businesses trained by the free marketing training and mentoring initiatives facilitated by REDZ Programme are already seeing the benefits. The other areas which saw major investment include: a new pedestrian walkway between Wolfe Tone Square and the Circular Road (N17), purchase of gazebo’s for use by local community groups and festivals, the development of St. Brigid’s Hall in time for next years All Ireland Confined Finals, addition of Footfall Counters and a feasibility study on the future use of the disused railway line. In addition to Tourism Action Planning Workshops, which have led to the setting up of new South Sligo Tourism Forum. The programme has also seen the setting up of a Digital Ambassador Team for the promotion of #SouthSligo and the newly rebranded www.tubbercurry.ie Heart of South Sligo.
Local businesswomen, vice chairperson of Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce and chairperson of Tubbercurry Tidy Towns Geraldine Brennan said “The new lane, officially called Swift Lane, has added a valued and exciting oasis to Tubbercurry, forging a link between the town centre and Circular road. On behalf of the tidy towns it was a pleasure to be involved in this Redz project from start to finish, which also included the Tree planting and Signage.”
The future looks brighter for South Sligo businesses as a clear roadmap has being put in place for its rejuvenation.
The REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zone) programme applies to Tubbercurry and its hinterland of 15 Electoral Districts in the counties of Sligo and Mayo. It is designed to encourage economic planning at local level
What is REDZ?
The Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) is a concept which has come from the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA). It is designed to encourage a more tailored approach to economic planning at local level with an increase in the extent of local cooperation in relation to the delivery of economic development initiatives. Within this context a localized strategic approach to the development of the Tubbercurry REDZ has been developed in cooperation between Sligo County Council and the Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce.
Louise Kilbane, Chairperson, Tubbercurry Redz Programme and President, Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce 087-3834723 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Media & Phoptography
Marie Brouder, Brouder Design 087-9045134 email@example.com