By Suzanne Pender
CARLOW’S newest public space The Exchange was the venue for the national dissemination event for Ru:Rban, an EU project funded under URBACT. More than 60 community representations from across Co Carlow heard about the project benefits for the county and engaged in a community garden design challenge.
URBACT’s mission is to enable cities and towns to work together and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges, by networking, learning from one another’s experiences, drawing lessons and identifying good practices to improve urban policies.
“I welcome our involvement in this project, with Carlow County Council playing its part in the EU agenda by examining issues which are critical to the development of our county,” said cllr Fintan Phelan, mayor of Carlow MD.
“For me as mayor, part of developing Carlow town is looking at the best practice adopted by others and Ru:Rban has brought together our local network with our new European partners to develop, share and build on new ways of working to benefit all who work, live, visit and learn in Co Carlow.”
The Ru:Rban project builds upon the ‘management model of urban gardens in Rome’ good practice guidelines, with the aim of transferring this best practice to EU cities geographically distant from one another, to ensure sharing of experiences and to enhance the capacities of local governance. The partners in the project are all local government organisations and include Rome; Split in Croatia; Alexandroupolis, Greece; Algeciras, Spain; and Carlow town.
The project was co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office in association with relevant departments in Carlow County Council, while funding approved for the project by the EU through URBACT was €83,360.
At the recent event in The Exchange, selected gardens were awarded €1,500 in investment for their community. The gardens selected were: first, Myshall Muintir Nature; second, An Gairdín Beo, Dublin Road, Carlow; and third, The Plots, Carlow.
As part of the final event, prizes worth €500 will also be made available for community groups via a public vote, which is open until Thursday 24 November on the following link: https://bit.ly/GardenDesignCarlow.
The final activity of the project will be held in Rome later this month, with the final report being published to Carlow County Council before the year’s end.
“We very much enjoyed working with our EU partners and our local ULG group on this project and seeing where the potential lies in urban gardens and tourism,” said Kieran Comerford, head of economic development and enterprise.
“The main benefit for Carlow from this project is the significant capacity development and networking opportunities for the county, which may lead to further projects in the future,” concluded Mr Comerford.