Community Development Council or Coop? - Aideen Rynne


In September 1990 University College Galway commenced a course entitled " Community Development and Enterprise Programme" which ran until May 1991.

The course explored the meaning of Community Development and the various ways by which the community in the collective sense of those living and working in the area might be encouraged to participate and grow through voluntary involvement in local issues,activities and services.

It emerged that in the experience of those participating in Community Development that projects Resource Centres, Regular Community meetings, Personal Development Groups, Local Radio and Publications were crucially important in energising and sustaining participation in Community Development.

It was found that a sense of community was best built in a small community by highlighting a common sense of values, customs, traditions, culture and history.  On the other hand it had to be noted that in areas such as our own where there were insufficient jobs to satisfy the local labour market, a greater effort had to be made to identify the resources of the area and to build upon them for the greater good of the community.

It was found that it takes initiative, commitment and resources to enforce the Sense of Community and if those elements were missing the community would not grow. It identified that one way of achieving this was through encouragement of sub groups working under the agendas of a central group, such as a Community Development Council or Co-op.

Following on from this course which has been run in several venues throughout Galway, many initiatives have been started such as: Womens Groups, Heritage and Tourism, Newsletters, Careers Groups and various other useful publications.
Best of luck to enterprising Athenry Area Development Company on this project.

Aideen Rynne for the Athenry Journal June 1995

    

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