Community Development and Education: Visit of Latvian delegation on education


Carlow County Development Partnership's SICAP Programme Education Officer Dylan Thomas recently took part in a meeting on the educational challenges facing members of the Latvian community. The Latvian Ambassador, Gintz Apals and an international delegation from Latvia took part in the round table event which was held in Carlow College.  The event was a great success with considerable exchange of information and learning. Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor and Mayor Fintan Phelan also participated. The group were warmly welcomed by Fr. Conn O Maoldhomhnaigh, President of Carlow College who also presented the Ambassador with a plaque of the Carlow Dolmen.

The challenges associated with moving to a new country can create stress for families and difficulties with the new language can mean that parents struggle to support their children as they progress through school. Carlow County Development Partnership are deeply committed to supporting the full development of individuals and communities in our region and this includes memebers of new communities who have moved into the county in recent years.


An important part of SICAP work is supporting local groups to leverage funding and link into regional or national structures or programmes.

An example of this is Take A Part, which is a social and community arts programme in the Tullow Road area of Carlow, an exciting collaboration project between Carlow County Development Partnership, Carlow Arts Office, Carlow County Council, Carlow Regional Youth Services and local residents. Funding came from The Arts Council of Ireland under their Invitation to Collaborate. Carlow was one of just 6 local authorities to secure funding.
The aim of the project is to break down barriers of what art is and how it can act as a tool to transform local communities, creating opportunities for social exchanges, participation, access and involvement in decisions relating to the local area. The project is managed by the Arts Action Group, made up of agencies and representatives from the Tullow Rd area who wish to engage in this programme. A co-ordinator has been employed to support the Arts Action Group in delivering on the projects.
Carlow County Development Partnership was pleased to play a vital role in the Take a Part Carlow initiative. The Tullow Rd is one of CCDP’s key areas for development with large investments of resources in supporting the capacity development of groups and individuals in the area. We recently initiated the development of the Tullow Rd Development Group, who we continue to support. We are working with The Sports Partnership in developing a Sports Hub for the area and are building the capacity of a number of residents’ associations. Because of this intense community development approach, as well as the work of other agencies in the area such as Carlow Regional Youth Services and Barnardo’s, it has allowed this exciting Art Project to concentrate in the area of the Tullow Rd. CCDP sit on the Arts Action Group and we have identified a number of local residents to do the same.

LEADER Support for Ballon Community Centre

Ballon Community Centre is a thriving hub of activities most days of the week. It boasts a spacious, modern hall complete with attractive wooden floor, which at 500 square meters, is licensed for occupancy by up to 500 people. Sports activities that are held there include athletics, badminton, basketball, bowls, fitness classes, GAA, martial arts and soccer.
The venue is perfect also for parties, dances, fairs, shows, concerts, public entertainment, conferences and much much more. Full use of the main hall, viewing area, kitchen, tables, chairs, multi media facilities and hi-tech sound system is available. .

The Centre was originally built in 1976 thanks to the voluntary work and the fundraising efforts undertaken by members of the community at that time. Since then the Centre has been a focal point of community activity and has been host to an endless number of social, family and sporting gatherings.   A complete redevelopment of the Centre was undertaken in 2013 resulting in the superb facility that exists today. The redevelopment project was made possible again thanks to years of planning, fundraising and voluntary work undertaken by members of the community. Carlow County Development Partnership is always delighted to support the energy within communities and individuals to bring about positive change in their areas and provided mentoring to the group to submit an application for funding to the LEADER Programme which resulted in substantial financial support being received under the Rural Development Programme.


Padraig Lalor acknowledged the support of the LEADER Programme:

"At Ballon Community Centre we are indebted to LEADER for the valuable advice and support which they provided towards the redevelopment of our Centre. Apart from offering generous financial assistance, we benefited from LEADER’s encouragement and experience as they helped us with our early plans and guided us through all stages to completion of the project. As a result, we are very fortunate to have a state of the art Community & Sports Centre which is widely used by all age groups and has had an enormously positive impact on our community.”


Community Development: Information and Awareness Roadshow: Bagenalstown



The Information Roadshow which is traveling around the different towns and villages of the county, giving details of  services which are available, arrived in Bagenalstown today.  Carlow County Development Partnership were delighted to be involved along with the PPN, Citizens Information Services, the Volunteer Center, Adult Guidance Services, Carlow Library Services, the Gardai and the Ring a Link Bus service. The Citizens Information bus was here and the information stands were set up inside the Credit Union

In a rural county like Carlow there is a need to move services out from the main towns to rural areas and villages in order to ensure that citizens are fully informed as to their rights and the services available to them.


Community Development: Sustainable Energy Communities workshop

A very successful information workshop on Sustainable Energy Communities was organized by Carlow County Development Partnership recently in the Lord Bagenal Hotel in Leighlinbridge. The workshop was facilitated by CEO Mary Walsh who described the initiative as a great opportunity for communities in Carlow to get support in the development of renewable energy and efficient energy options:

Our experience shows that people and groups are interested in green energy but are often confused by the range of technologies and whether the advice is objective or a sales pitch.   What we in Carlow County Development Partnership CLG particularly like about this Sustainable Energy Community Network initiative is the expert advice is objective and is publicly funded and therefore, we are encouraging individuals, enterprises, organisations and community groups in Carlow to participate in this initiative and at the very least, get an energy assessment carried out on their buildings and facilities by an objective expert free of charge'.  

She went on to add that

‘at the point then of having the energy assessment carried out, people and groups are in a very strong position to make a fully informed decision on what is the best green energy options for their particular set of circumstances"

The feedback from those who attended was very positive. The response of Tullow Community Group's Larry Kavanagh was typical:

"From a Tullow community point of view, we have worked with the Carlow/Kilkenny sustainable energy group in the past and our project was very successful. As a result of this workshop, we are now considering taking the next step"

Check out the link on the front of the website for further details or contact Marina de Costa in the Bagenalstown office.

Labour Market Activation: Tús and VISUAL Centre


The VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art is the largest gallery space in Ireland, with 4 galleries and a 330 seater theatre space. Opened in 2009, the arts centre presents national and international art and theatre to a local and national audience. There are up to 15 staff working in VISUAL across many departments and the gallery is underpinned by a vision to create a space for audiences, artists and communities to engage with, explore and be inspired by contemporary art and performance.

For the last 3 years, Tús and VISUAL have worked together to enable young people develop their skills within an arts setting. Participants have spent a year on an internship learning about marketing, box office, front of house, gallery administration, hosting workshops, curation and digital marketing activities. These skills have given the participants a solid foundation in understanding how an organization works, how an arts venue is run and also working across many disciplines. Participants have gone on to get work in VISUAL, based on their internship. The current Tús Supervisor responsible for VISUAL is Lucy Stevenson

This collaboration is a good example of the value of the Tús programme to the arts and cultural life of the county.

About Us

Labour Market Activation: Mock Interviews in the Carlow Jobs Club

One of the challenges facing job-seekers is the length of time they have been out of the processes involved in getting a job, such as designing a CV, filling in Application Forms and getting past an Interview. Mock interviews respond to one of these challenges by providing candidates with an opportunity to test out their interview skills with someone who isn’t evaluating them for an actual job. Mock interviews also help job seekers clarify responses to certain questions and work on areas where they may have weaknesses. Furthermore, whereas in a real interview, feedback is not always forthcoming, the mock interview allows the interviewee ask questions, hear how to improve,  and where to focus their answers.

As part of its 3 week Group Programme the Carlow Jobs Club held Mock interviews this Easter week, where each participant on the programme took part in a half hour session. The Interview panel was made up of members of the Carlow business and academic community who generously give of their time every three weeks to assist the programme in this way. The interviews are also video-recorded, and participants have the option of looking at their performance afterwards, to see aspects such as posture and Body language, as well as noting the answers given in the interview setting.

If you have any questions about finding a job, or would like help in any way with your CV or preparing for an interview just call into the Jobs Club. Its opening hours are 9 - 1.00 and 2.00 - 5.00

Social Inclusion: Failte Isteach language and welcoming Programme


The Failte Isteach Programme welcomes migrants into the county through conversational English classes in an informal,  welcoming setting. It meets three times a week in Carlow Town and Tullow and could not function without the dedication of a team of fabulous volunteers who give of their time to run the classes. The efforts of these volunteers are hugely appreciated by Carlow County Development Partnership but also by the students, as can be seen by this beautiful cake which was presented by a student to one of the volunteer tutors last week.

The Programme is run in the New Oak Community Center on Monday evenings 6 to 8 and on Friday mornings 10 - 12. In Tullow it runs in the Forward Steps Family Resource Center on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8. It takes a little break this week for Easter but feel free to drop in when it resumes.

The lack of a language is one of the greatest barriers to full inclusion and participation in society, which is one of the goals of the SICAP programme.  For further details get in touch through the contact page.

Community Development: Information and Awareness Roadshow: Borris County Market


Over the next few months an Information Roadshow will travel around the different towns and villages of the county, giving details of a number of agencies and services which are available. Carlow County Development Partnership are delighted to be involved again year, along with the PPN, Citizens Information Services, the Volunteer Center, MABS, Adult Guidance Services, Carlow Library Services, the Gardai and the Ring a Link Bus service. The first outing took place on Friday April 5th in the Borris Farmers Market in the Town Hall in Borris.

In a rural county like Carlow there is a need to move services out from the main towns to rural areas and villages in order to ensure that citizens are fully informed as to their rights and the services available to them.

The next event will be held in Ballinkillen Community Hall on Sunday 23rd April from 11 - 1.

Community Development: The Integration Forum and St Patrick's Day

Ireland’s population has become increasingly diverse over the past two decades, and this is evident in all the towns and villages in County Carlow. Carlow County Development Partnership CLG is committed to the development of a county in which migrants and those of migrant origin play active roles in communities, workplaces and politics, underpinned by a respect for, and celebration of, diversity. Also we are working to mobilize local communities to promote integration.

One way in which this is support is through the assistance and mentoring given to the Carlow Integration Forum. Therefore It was great to see them  – and some of the individual communities which are part of it – so strongly represented at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Carlow Town. The diversity of different nations which have made Carlow their home is rightly now represented on this day which celebrates an increasing diverse understanding of national identity.

Carlow County Development Partnership SICAP Programme supports the  Lithuanian Community School and also runs the Failte Isteach Language and integration programme in Carlow town and in Tullow.


If you are from a new community and would like to receive support with language training, other forms of training or just advice, please contact Annette at 086 8545136