Tidy Towns groups, residents’ associations, schools and businesses were recognised for projects and actions undertaken to promote and develop sustainability in our towns and communities at an event in County Buildings on Monday last.
Presentations were made to the various groups at Wicklow County Council’s annual Tidy Towns, Estates and Sustainable Development Awards.
Arklow was recognised for achieving the highest marks in the county in the national competition with Baltinglass honoured for taking the endeavour award. All towns across the county received significant increases in marks with Arklow, Greystones and Wicklow Town taking the coveted gold medal at national level in 2022.
Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy, Leas Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, thanked all the volunteers for their contribution to their communities and commented: “the gold medals achieved by four towns in County Wicklow – Arklow, Bray, Greystones and Wicklow – demonstrate that they are reaching the top level in the national Tidy Towns Competition, among the best in the country”.
In the county competition Grange Con, Tinahely and Blessington came out top in the Main Street competition in the three size categories of small, medium and large. Ashton in Blessington and John Paul Ave in Arklow picked up awards for best kept estates.
Climate was an important theme in the awards and Greystones Tidy Towns collected the Climate Action award for their campaign of 40 actions for work with homeowners on assessing their energy performance. Wicklow Tidy Towns received an award for its energy awareness day in July which attracted over 400 visitors.
Wicklow Wolf Brewery in Newtownmountkennedy was recognised for their efforts to decarbonise their operations with resource efficiency. Servier in Arklow won the Biodiversity award with their 10-year programme to manage their grounds for biodiversity and annual planting of trees to offset carbon.
Mr Brian Gleeson, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, spoke about the new Climate Action fund for communities where the Council will partner with communities in delivering projects. He added: “Following the launch of the Community Climate Action Fund we will be looking for expressions of interest for the fund so that communities can play a strengthened role in delivering innovative climate action adapted to local opportunities and needs”.
Knockananna Tidy Towns were rewarded for their new community garden while Greystones Tidy Towns picked up a landscaping award for work on a new marine themed roundabout, a new sensory garden and a stumpery in Burnaby Park.
The waste minimisation award went to Tinahely Community Projects for their revamped community recycling facility. Blessington Tidy Towns received the built heritage award for work around the square, increasing pedestrian space in this important town centre location. Baltinglass Tidy Towns was recognised for its study and mapping of invasive species in the River Slaney while the Coastcare award went to Greystones Junior Tidy Towns.
Schools were well represented in the awards with St Mary’s Junior School in Blessington; Tinahely National School, Greystones Educate Together, Scoil Realt na Mara in Brittas Bay and Blessington Educate Together among the winners. Schools play an important role in mobilising environmental stewardship and exploring biodiversity.
The 29 Tidy Towns groups in County Wicklow have done amazing work in protecting the local natural and built environment. The range of projects and campaigns they undertake benefits all. They use a huge range of skills and can always find a role for new volunteers.
Why not check out what your local group are doing and see if there’s a role for you whether it’s on climate action, protecting biodiversity, awareness raising, protecting local built heritage, landscaping or litter control.