The Ballyhoura Winter Networking Forum took place on Saturday November 18th in Pallasgreen, in the recently renovated Community Centre and Blasta Community Cafe.

Opened by the Chairperson of Ballyhoura Development, Mary Laffan, the Networking Forum facilitated communities from across the Ballyhoura area to come together and share information and learn of current activities and opportunities in community-led development. The event had a strong focus on a 'Just and Green Transition' for the area and how local communities are key to developing and strengthening participative approaches.

The Sustainable Development Goals were centre stage for the opening session with an interactive learning workshop focused on the SDG's and how they fit with, and can support, local community's everyday activities from Tidy Towns work through to providing local facilities and services. Presentations also focused on opportunities for attendees, on behalf of their community, to borrow one of the Home Energy Savings Kits which Ballyhoura Development has recently acquired, for community use. The Kits contain a few simple-to-use tools that can help provide a practical understanding of householders’ energy usage and building fabric effectiveness, and which can help to identify potential home improvements, to reduce energy use and household energy bills. The Kits are available to borrow from any Ballyhoura Development office.

The value of collaboration, partnership and learning from other European countries was strongly emphasised by community members participating in the EU Erasmus Up Rural Project. Community members shared their experiences of visiting partner EU countries to learn, and share insights from the Ballyhoura experience of community and rural development, with overwhelming support for building stronger links with areas similar to local communities, to facilitate further learning and exchanges.

A key focus of the Networking Forum was the presentation of research findings by TASC into the current situation, and how communities can prepare and support a 'Just and Green Transition' for the area. The challenges presented by climate change for the Ballyhoura area, and delivering the actions that are required to achieve change in an equitable and inclusive way have been a focus for discussion in Ballyhoura Networking Forums throughout 2023.

The research report brought together the findings, with TASC keen to highlight that key to the report was the valuable first-hand experience of climate and social inclusion challenges and opportunities shared by the 603 people across the Ballyhoura area that contributed to the focus groups, discussions and surveys. The value of meaningful consultation, inclusion and participation of communities, and particularly of traditionally disadvantaged communities, is key to underpinning actions that will support a Just and Green Transition.

The report findings provide key information to guide future community-led local developments with a strong focus on increased collaboration within and between local communities, in pursuit of the best outcomes for all local communities.

For more details on any of the information mentioned above, please contact your Local Ballyhoura Development Officer.

UpRural! is an Erasmus+ funded collaboration project between 7 Partners across 6 countries – Ireland, Romania, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

Let’s green, digital and animate rural inclusive territories!


This project has been funded by the European Union.