On the right is Linda Kelly, Manager, Kilcormac Development Association, launching the visitkilcormac.com website some years ago with Ciarán Fox from Idea.

Funding boost for Kilcormac community garden plan

Kilcormac Development Association (KDA) is planning to revamp its existing community garden using funding from the Department of Rural & Community Development.

KDA and Tullamore Harriers are two of 26 groups in the county who will receive over €600,000 in funding under the Community Recognition Fund 2023. KDA has been allocated €40,274 in funding.

The group also plans to remove existing fencing to allow for more visibility into the garden and connecting roads. As part of this the association hopes to remove the hedging and install a fence and suitable pathways that will allow safe accessibility for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues.

Project Manager with KDA, Linda Kelly, said that the association is "absolutely thrilled" with the funding. “The community garden was a project that we've been looking at for a long time and we just haven't had access to funding to do it so this provided a fantastic opportunity for us to to be able to finally do something with it.”

Linda said that they also wish to install an outdoor boccia court and focus on new landscaping and more sensory planting and biodiversity in the garden.

“The community garden especially is something that we've been looking at for a long time. It really didn't have any purpose and we really wanted to try and have the full potential be realised. By getting this money that will allow us to put something there that will be a benefit to all members of the community.”

Linda explained that they had put in two applications for the funding related to the community centre and community garden.

They are hoping to purchase new equipment for the community centre such as movable room dividers. Linda said that they are also hoping to purchase new foldable chairs on trolleys and soft furnishings such as arm chairs, coffee tables and rugs.

“We have a number of groups like our Ukrainian families that have moved into the convent. They use the centre so we were trying to create a smaller, more intimate space for people for meetings and one to ones."

Linda thanked local people for volunteering following KDA's recent drive for volunteers to join. "Over the space of four weeks we managed to completely run our tea room solely on volunteers which has never happened here before."

"It's amazing the community spirit that has evolved out of that one drive that we had."

Chairman of Tullamore Harriers Athletics Club, Adrian Curley, echoed KDA's reaction to the funding saying: “We are delighted to be awarded the amount (of €57,993.) Any investment like that is hugely beneficial to us.”

The chairman added that the club intends to spend the money allocated to them on a new pole vault landing area and high jump as their existing equipment is quite old.

“In recent years there has been a huge uptake nationally in pole vault events. It's quite fitting that the pole vault would be upgraded to a higher standard.”

Some of the other Offaly community groups that will befit from the funding include: Tullamore Sports Link (€43,171), Moneygall Development Association (€47,170), Clara GAA Club (€42,000), Tullamore Community Family & Resource Centre CLG (€40,000), Birr MD (€38,000) and OFFline Film Festival (€34,605.)

Offaly County Council has welcomed the approval of funding by the Department of Rural & Community Development of over €600,000 to 26 Offaly based community groups this week. The successful groups were awarded funding under the Community Recognition Fund 2023.

The funding aims to support the development of community infrastructure and facilities in Offaly in recognition of the contribution being made by communities in welcoming and hosting significant numbers of arrivals from Ukraine and other countries.