Over the past three years, we have learned so much about community development that will support future projects across the region and beyond. Local people from across the six border counties have developed innovative solutions to many local challenges while forging new connections and learning new skills to accomplish exciting projects.
Browse the Case Studies below to learn about the various achievements of community groups from agricultural initiatives to regeneration and much more!
McGahern experience / Cavan Leitrim Rail Trail
This course explored the revival and development of the former narrow-guage railway in ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. This group initially intended to pursue a greenway along the narrow-guage, however, through their community consultation and community-led engagement events, they found that there were many other possibilities for the trail. Heritage preservation was one of the strong themes that emerged from consultatiom, with many community members reminising features of the former facility including the sound of the whistle blower to alert people that the train was coming. This group conducted user centred research surveys at a christmas market to understand how young people and children would like to see the trail developed - they found that, overwhelmingly, the children would like to cycle along the route, which ecouraged further research into a cycle trail along the route. Among other ideas were repurposed telephone boxes which could be used as audio installations, playing recorded oral histories about the railway by community members.
Establishing Independent Artist Studios in Drogheda
Group consisted of members from the pre-established Artists' Collective, Borrowed ground, basedin County Louth. They came together to tackle the challenge of 'Establishing Independent Artists Studios in Drogheda'. The space would allow members of the group to work, develop their practice and contribute to the vibrant local art scene.
St. Angela's College
The students are first year home economics students. They chose food waste as their research area. They cook in class multiple times a week and their brief is usually to cook for a family of four. The course took the issue of food waste and the impact that food waste has on our environment, particularly the carbon emissions of food waste and the implications of this. We looked at common assumptions, for example a perception that if you are composting your food waste you are doing less harm.
Patrician High School Innovating Communities
This group of students split into three groups; one group explored gender inequality among same sex schools. This group is an all boys school but they collaborated with a local all girls school and expressed interest that this was something they thoroughly enjoyed as a more fruitful experience. The second group explored discimination and how to ensure maximum inclusivity in their local area. They created a town model called Tilted Towers, which exemplified personas of people who may encounter discrimination. Both groups circulated surveys and created to Grafitti walls to gather user research and collected data and feedback from community members. The fictional town also identified amenities and facilities that are wanted by the communty of Carrickmacross including; a hospital and a doctors office.
A recreation corridor from Donegal's heartland to the coast
Challengers began this journey with a clear Challenge in mind: to develop a plan for a new recreational corridor in Donegal for locals and visitors to enjoy. It was originally envisioned that creating this scenic route between Donegal Town and Ballybofey-Stranorlar could provide a boost for tourism, the environment, and stimulate small businesses and communities along the way.
Innovating Communities: Loreto School Group 1 - Environment and Recycling
A group of Transition Year students in Loreto School, Letterkenny, Donegal, came together to undertake the Innovating Communities Design Thinking course. The group began without a clear challenge in mind, but with lots of ideas. Through the first few lessons, the group narrowed down their Challenge focus to that of Environment and Recycling. From the beginning, they were clear they wanted their efforts toward the Challenge to be visible and to have an effect on others, encouraging them to form more sustainable daily habits.
Ecological Survey of Ardee Bog
From February to June, 2022, community members and a pre-established group called 'Freinds of Ardee Bog', came together as Challengers. The Group aimed to tackel the Challenge of completing an ecological survey of Ardee Bog and to raise awareness around the Bog's importance to the wider community.
Attracting People to Live and Work in County Monaghan
This group delivered in-depth and representative research into issues in the community around services, facilities and opportunities in an attempt to understand where Monaghan could improve its appeal as a place to live and work. Many new community members who had never had the opportunity to connect with neighbours began a network to explore viable options to improve life in Monaghan. Following public surveys, and guest talks delivered by MID representatives about the LEADER Smart Villages framework, this group decided to focus on rural enhancement, specifically, a marketing campaign for the area to encourage people to live and work. The group concluded that a series of video testimonials were the best route to achieve this and could be representative of the many beautiful and unique amenities that Monaghan has to offer.
Designing Kiltyclogher’s Future
This group in Kiltyclogher decided to explore and develop a wishlist for different areas of development that could be motivated in the town. Each individual in the group had a different knowledge or skill about how they could improve local wealth and civic pride and these ideas ranged from utilising derilect buildings to painting local shop fronts.
Breathing Life Back into Ballymote
The expected outcome of this course was to find a way for the various groups within Ballymote to work together towards a common goal. The working group identifies various goals but realised a representative structure would need to be put in place first. The outcome of the innovating communities course was the group held a town hall event to understand how a representative and inclusive community council should be established.
Climate Action, Biodiversity and Sustainability
Challengers arrived at this course with an extensive range of interests and expertise in the wider Challenge theme of Climate Action. Some had a keen interest in food waste and recycling, others with a focus in water management. While their specific focuses varied, what brought the Challengers together was their passion for a better and sustainable planet.
Innovating Communities: Loreto School Group 2 - Healthcare and Costs
A group of Transition Year students in Loreto School, Letterkenny, Donegal, came together to undertake the Innovating Communities Design Thinking course. The group began without a clear challenge in mind, but with lots of ideas. Through the first few lessons, the group narrowed down their Challenge focus to that of Healthcare and Costs (financial, emotional, mental). The group were incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their Challenge focus, many having lived experience of the Irish healthcare system and frustrations with it. The group chose this challenge theme as their focus, with the aim to enact change and raise awareness around the topic.
Universal Design Community Gardens and Allotments in North County Louth
Group consisted of community members from Dundalk, Co.Louth. They came together to tackle the challenge of creating an inclusive community garden for all of Dundalk.