Melissa Faulkner is full of enthusiasm about the developments which took place in Rathvilly during 2016.

“Every single person in our Community Development Group is a volunteer. Nobody is paid anything. And now we have an action plan. People who never got involved in any community activities are getting involved. And people were thrilled that we got the Christmas Fair up and running and got funding for our lights. The SICAP team from County Carlow Development Partnership has been with us since the beginning, attended our meetings and gave invaluable support. We have the benefit of their experience and contacts and they have also helped us with funding. It has been great.”

Melissa’s background is in youth work and she has always been interested in community development so she was thrilled to chair the Rathvilly Community Development Group in a voluntary capacity. Back in the sixties picturesque Rathvilly on the Slaney won the Tidy Towns three times. But with cuts in transport links over the years the community of less than one thousand was becoming marginalised. Two years ago Melissa met with the SICAP team and they discussed what the area needed.

“If you weren’t into sport in Rathvilly options were limited. And many people couldn’t get to neighbouring villages for activities. With the help of the SICAP team I drew up a list of topics for discussion and with their encouragement I put up posters for a meeting. Fifteen people came and that was the beginning of a new chapter for Rathvilly. An important first step for us was to develop a local area plan for Rathvilly.  We got funding from the County Carlow Development Partnership and commissioned professional researchers to carry out a needs analysis using on line, door to door, and on the street questionnaires. That gave us our Action Plan which we launched in November 2016. We were cautious at the start and brought people in along the way and now we have big community involvement with thirty people active on various sub groups.”

The Action Plan is divided into short, medium and long term goals. The Rathvilly Community Development group now believe that they can make things happen with the aim of improving the quality of life of people living in Rathvilly. Immediately painting of buildings began. An awareness campaign about public transport was launched.  They began promotion of the Post Office, set up of a Community Alert group, and got a community newsletter under way. And they also started a Rathvilly walking group. There was an immediate positive effect on community spirit and plans to develop library services, a tourism trail, build a playground and get a community Arts project to Rathvilly are now being actively pursued.

 

We could never have done this without County Carlow Development Partnership. We would be lost without them.

Rathvilly