Ballyhoura Development Annual Report 2023


  • Ballyhoura Development strongly believes in the power of community-led local development to build thriving, inclusive and sustainable rural communities.

    In 2023, communities across north Cork and east Limerick, shared their knowledge and experience in preparing for a community-led, Just and Green Transition. 

    The challenges faced by community groups, families, and businesses across the area in creating inclusive communities and adjusting to a greener future will be supported over the coming years by the quality of community-led conversations, and the commitment of the 603 people who shared their thoughts, local insights, and expertise throughout the year.

    We believe the inclusive, locally-led process demonstrates how climate action can be an enabler of local development and underpin sustainable change moving forward.

Our Mission

  • Ballyhoura Development is a Community-Led Local Development Company...

    ...working in partnership, to develop empowered and inclusive communities that inspire and embrace new opportunities, drive positive sustainable social, environmental and economic change, and reduce inequalities.


Chairperson's Statement

  • In 2023, Ballyhoura Development, a community-led local development company, managed €6.9m of funding to support communities, families, and businesses across the Ballyhoura area. All services delivered were in line with the organisation's vision and mission to support more inclusive and sustainable communities and a diversified economy.

    Ballyhoura Development continued to evolve its services and supports in 2023, seeking to embed a people-centred approach into climate action in Ballyhoura. By viewing the transition as a long-term, place-based process, community-led local development has the potential to build a foundation of equity, address the needs and priorities of those experiencing socio-economic exclusion, and build support for transformative and just climate action.

    We believe that the process of participating in these conversations has been valuable to all who generously took part and will make us all stronger than ever.

    Mary Laffan
    Chairperson of Ballyhoura Development CLG

Our Governance and Team

Our Team

  • A key strength of Ballyhoura Development is its dedicated and professional team, which is based in local communities.

    In 2023, Ballyhoura Development met and exceeded key programme targets, underpinned by its integrated delivery of services to local communities to identify and respond positively to local challenges, through a range of social, economic, and environmental focused supports, programmes, projects, and initiatives.

    Ballyhoura Development continues to prioritise investment in local places and people, in raising awareness, improving knowledge, and developing capacity to respond and adapt to change.

    Read More About Our Team

Our Governance and Team

Our Board

  • The voluntary Board Members of Ballyhoura Development establish policies and priorities and provide strategic direction to the organisation. In 2023, their knowledge and experience was again critical in guiding the organisation.

    Contributing to ten Board meetings, with an average attendance of 67% of members, and numerous sub-committee activities, Board members volunteered over 500 hours of voluntary time in 2023.

    Implementation of strong governance frameworks supported the objective of maintaining public trust and confidence and enhanced Ballyhoura Development's reputation for quality, transparency, integrity, and accountability in its management.

    Board Elections continue to focus on achieving full gender balance and diversity of skills, expertise, and experiences to support local development decision making.

    Read More About Our Board

Our Governance and Team

Independent Evaluation Committee

2023 at a Glance

  • €6.9m

    Total Funding Managed


    Community Group Engagements


    Overall administration overhead %

    In 2023... Ballyhoura Development met or exceeded all of the key performance indicators set by its programme funders


    Spent on Service Delivery


    Individual engagements in education, training, employment & business supports

Our 2023 Programmes

2023 Highlights

Our Activities

  • 557

    Community group engagements


    People received education, training, employment and business supports


    People progressed to work


    People progressed to further education and training


    People participated in business training and mentoring


    People participated in Just and Green Transition conversations


    Paid out to LEADER projects


    People engaged with the Local Area Employment Service


    Communities engaged with the Sustainable Energy Communities Programme

2023 Highlights

Community, Business, Tourism & Environmental Projects

  • 508

    Individuals were supported through the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme


    People participated in the Living and Learning initiative


    Children attended Afterschool Services


    People engaged with the Rural Recreation Initiative

Our 2023 Case Studies

Read | Listen | Watch

Public Outreach

  • Being in and part of the community is hugely important to Ballyhoura Development.

    Ballyhoura Development delivers services and supports through outreach offices in the communities of Kilfinane, Kilmallock, Cappamore, Charleville and Mitchelstown. Local delivery strengthens our connections to, and understanding of, the communities and people we work with.

    Contact Our Outreach Offices

Public Outreach

  • Our website, continues to be a key communication tool for the organisation.

    Sharing information on all community resources & supports, training and upskilling workshops, parenting & mental health supports, funding opportunities and local jobs is critical to raising awareness, building knowledge, improving capacity and increasing participation.

    Ballyhoura Development’s website & social media channels reached over 284,100 people through digital platforms in 2023, with total website users of 32,162. The online audience breaks down at 78% Female and 22% Male

Our Sustainability Goals

In 2023, Ballyhoura Development was selected by the Department of the Environment as a Sustainable Development Goals Champion organisation. This role has enabled us to promote how the Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to the work of local communities across 2023.

  • Of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, some goals were particularly relevant to the work of Ballyhoura Development in 2023.

    Goal 7 Affordable & Clean Energy
    Goal 8 Decent Work & Economic Growth
    Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities
    Goal 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities
    Goal 13 Climate Action
    Goal 16 Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions
    Goal 17 Partnerships for Goals

    Our vision of Ballyhoura as an area with empowered, inclusive communities, and a diversified economy reflects the organisation's commitment to inclusion, to a just transition and to a greener, more sustainable future.

    Ballyhoura Development manages, coordinates and implements a wide range of local, regional, national and European projects focussing on the three pillars of community development, economic development and environmental development.

    In so doing, social, environmental, and economic sustainability concerns are inextricably linked, and Ballyhoura Development fosters innovative approaches to ensure that each of these issues are addressed in tandem to progress toward a just transition and a greener, more sustainable future in which nobody is left behind.

    This work, guided by the principles of partnership, participation, and maintaining a bottom-up approach, means that Ballyhoura Development’s work is always closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

2023 Financials

  • In 2023, Ballyhoura Development managed its funding and achieved its outcomes, operating on an overall administration and overhead percentage of 8%.

    Ballyhoura Development applies the concepts of integrity, accuracy, transparency, reliability, confidentiality and proper disclosure and presentation in all of its operations. In managing local, national and EU funding, Ballyhoura Development complies with international best practice in the management of public funding. The accounting administration is based on (i) Recognised accounting principles, which have been translated into clear practical procedures, (ii) Public accountability and (iii) EU and State funding conditions including Commission Regulations.

2023 Financials

Breakdown of Funds by Government Department

  • Community-led local development actions and supports delivered by Ballyhoura Development are funded through a range of local, regional, national and EU competitive funding calls.

    Ballyhoura Development designs, develops and delivers its programmes, projects and initiatives along five Operating Principles. These are (i) strategic and innovative, (ii) integrated and connected, (iii) partnership and collaboration, (iv) resilience and sustainability, and (v) evidence and results. These principles guide Ballyhoura Development's approach when seeking, delivering, managing, and reporting on public funding.

    The increased funding in 2023 is accounted for by the variances in sources of funding, reflecting funding availability and programme and project timeframes and life cycles.

    Download the Full Financial Statement

2023 Financials

Breakdown of Programme Delivery Related Expenses

Awards, Accreditation & Certification

Ballyhoura Development is committed to maintaining strong and transparent governance systems and to delivering quality professional services and supports to benefit local communities. The company strategy and activities are aligned with the development priorities of local communities, civil society, and regional and national government to create added value, and are recognised through compliance with:

  • SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice, Accounting and Reporting by Charities

  • EIQA Q Mark for Quality Management Systems

  • Aontas Adult Learning All Star Awards

  • The Charities Regulator Good Governance Code, a Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations in Ireland

  • The All-Ireland Business Foundation All Star Accreditation


  • "Just a quick note to say thanks for putting me on the course. I got some very good points, he is very good at presenting his material and very easy to understand."

    Participant after a training course


    1. "Only for Ballyhoura Development your Development Officers experience we would still be looking at the application form."

      Community project leader


      1. "I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I’m so glad I spoke up today. I really hope to have a manifestation of the work over the last 3 years thanks to you all and in particular you’."

        Participant after a training course


        1. "Many thanks again for everything, your support, encouragement, advice and time meant more than you know."

          Participant after mentoring meeting


          1. "I extend my heartfelt appreciation for the wonderful day, and I look forward to the possibility of further collaboration and the opportunity to contribute to the vibrant and flourishing community in the Ballyhoura region."

            Participant after a learning visit


            1. "This familiarisation trip proved to be of immense interest and benefit to me and my own business"

              Participant after a local tourism familiarisation trip.


              1. "The support Ballyhoura has given us is unbelievable, organising us to do a community needs survey, a meeting for us to meet other groups, organise a tutor to inform us about different agencies and different ways of raising funds, it was super educational."

                Community project leader


                1. "'I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the fantastic day… the experience was truly delightful, and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the trip"

                  Participant after a learning visit.


                  1. "The skills I have acquired will be very beneficial to my work and have given me more career opportunities. It has also given me a sense of calm within myself. I have learned a lot about nature and the importance of being outside. I have learned about different European cultures, our similarities and differences. Overall it was a very positive experience."

                    Participant after an Erasmus experience


                    1. "Well done on a great event. It was quite informative & helpful."

                      Participant after a local community event


                      1. "It was great to meet likeminded individuals and network within our local community."

                        Participant after a local community event


                        1. "Thanks for the Accommodation conference. Kilbehenny was a fantastic venue and the local coffee and lunch was most appreciated. What a great way to showcase our communities."

                          Participant after a local tourism conference


                          1. "Ballyhoura Development prompted that there should be a fundraising committee and at the end of that night we had our fundraising committee and out of that we organised a fund raiser which has surpassed all expectations so for us we would have nothing only for our friends in Ballyhoura supporting us in every task we take on."

                            Community project leader


                            1. "Thanks so much for all your suggestions on my business plan, I agree with your suggestions and thanks for putting that together."

                              Participant after a training course


                              1. "I sincerely thank you! Our meeting was incredible, everything started to take shape in my head."

                                Participant after a mentoring meeting


                                1. "'We would have nothing only for the support ye give us always at the end of a phone, and always willing to come out to meet us"

                                  Community project leader


                                  What's Next?

                                  • Ballyhoura Development will maintain the present focus on facilitating communities, families, individuals, and businesses across the Ballyhoura Development area to participate in community-led local development, and on the design and development of solutions to local social, economic, and environmental challenges.

                                    A key ambition for the Board is to continue to deliver an integrated service on the ground, using community development methodologies to achieve integrated rural development and resilient communities. This requires us to remain focused on local places and people and move beyond individual programme key performance indicators of success. Not always easy but something that has stood Ballyhoura Development and local communities well over time.

                                    The organisation will continue to work with partners to source new programme, project and initiative resources to deliver the three core aims of (i) Inclusive Communities, (ii) Environmental Sustainability and (iii) a Diversified Economy.

                                    The challenges of securing funding on a consistent basis, to deliver on the company's vision and mission are noted by the Directors, particularly in light of the diversity of procurement processes, the annualised nature of many of the available funds, the increased diversity of fund sources, and fund contract types.