May 2020 District Forum Ballyhoura Development Hosts First Virtual District Forum On Thursday May 28th, Ballyhoura Development CLG hosted its first virtual District Forum. The District Forum events provide a space for communities of the Ballyhoura area of north Cork and east Limerick to come together and discuss funding and grant opportunities, issues and challenges surrounding community, and generally to get together and chat and network. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this latest event took place online. Given the key economic challenges that communities face over the coming weeks and months, this District Forum was themed around the provision of practical advice in relation to the reopening of businesses and community facilities in light of continuing restrictions. In total over 90 representatives from 45 communities took part. The evening was opened by Padraig Fitzgerald, Chairperson of Ballyhoura Development with an update provided by CEO of Ballyhoura Development Padraig Casey. The Chairperson reflected on the real positives that have emerged from the Covid-19 response. While this has been a challenging time for families and businesses around the Ballyhoura area, Padraig pointed out that “the speed and extent of the response, along with the levels of volunteering that we have seen on a community level has been fantastic. Rural Ireland is clearly a great place to live at the moment." The invited speakers, Susan Gallagher from Clann Credo, Rose Hally from Community Finance Ireland, Kathryn Dalton of Kilmallock Credit Union focused on the theme of community finance. The emerging issue for clubs and community associations is how to finance loans when many weekly and seasonal events that generate income can no longer go ahead. While Susan and Rose made it clear that their respective organisations are certainly serving groups despite the difficulties they may be experiencing, Tom O Leary provided information on the various online fundraising options that many communities are using successfully around the country in place of their traditional events. Catherine Smyth of Ballyhoura Development gave a presentation on the reopening assistance that Ballyhoura Development is currently offering. Services include risk assessments, the erection of signage and markings and the provision and fitting of Perspex screens where needed. The information provided by speakers on the night can be downloaded from the links below: Ballyhoura District Forum May 2020 - Clann Credo Ballyhoura District Forum May 2020 - Kilmallock Credit Union Ballyhoura District Forum May 2020 - Community Finance Ireland Ballyhoura District Forum May 2020 - Tom O'Leary - Fundraising Ballyhoura Development would like to acknowledge the communities, stakeholder agencies, staff and Board members who participated in the Forum and look forward to working together to achieve a successful and safe reopening of the Ballyhoura area. For more details on any of the services or information mentioned above please contact your local Ballyhoura Development Officer.