By Suzanne Pender
THE community spirit evident in one of Carlow town’s newest estates contributed to a national award last week.
Sleaty Park View, Graiguecullen is part of Clúid Housing, which won the housing management category at the recent Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) awards. The award acknowledged the contribution of Clúid’s national residents’ advisory group, in which the residents at Sleaty Park View take a very active role. In fact, Sleaty Park View resident Debbie Kearney is its current chair.
“Clúid actually won two awards at the event – for housing management and also in the regeneration category for a project at St Mary’s Mansions in Dublin,” explains Debbie. “It was a great achievement to win two national awards.”
Sleaty Park View is just over two years’ old, but from the very beginning the importance of engaging with residents and working together to enhance their locality was recognised.
“There are 26 houses here, and from the beginning we set up a residents’ association,” says Debbie’s husband Ger. “We have plans now to have a biodiversity garden and we’re also planning a play area for the kids, using as much up-cycled or recycled materials as we can. We also want to have a seating area and a courtyard, a place where residents can gather,” says Ger.
Debbie adds: “We wanted to get all the residents involved before we just forged ahead with it, so we sent out a survey to all the residents asking for their opinions and feedback on the garden … that was really positive. We’d also welcome any support or donations … we’re looking to cover a large area in mulch and we’re also going to use granite boulders, so anyone who could help us out with that would be great.”
In December 2020, an oak tree was planted to mark the start of their ambitious project, with the words ‘The journey begins’ on a plaque alongside the tree encouraging residents of Sleaty Park View to look to the future.
Ger and Debbie acknowledge the huge support their Clúid housing officer Jannette O’Brien and Ann Scully of Carlow County Council, Carlow PPN and local councillors Andrea Dalton, Adrienne Wallace and Tom O’Neill have been as they set their sights on their biodiversity garden.
“We want to have a garden that everyone can see from their home, a garden with as little carbon footprint as possible, that’s as nature-friendly, insect-friendly and child friendly as possible,” says Ger.