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03 Jul 2022

How can Kilkenny communities contribute toward a better environment? Find out at the Smart Villages workshop

Smart Villages- Learn How to “Nurture Nature” in their Planning!

How can Kilkenny communities contribute toward a better environment? Find out at the Smart Villages workshop

How can a local community really contribute toward a better environment?  And can a real value be place on environmental projects?  These and other questions will form the basis of the latest of Smart Villages: Nature & Nurture, from 2pm tomorrow, Thursday, the 2nd of June, at the beautiful venue of the Outdoor Activity Hub beside the River Barrow in Graignamanagh. 

Eanna Ní Lamha, the well-known environmentalist and media presenter, will be the chairperson and MC of the event.  Nature & Nurture is open free of charge to all community people and small businesses in Kilkenny.

Rosie Lynch of the Workhouse Union organisation based in Callan, is the event organiser.  “If your community wants to make a contribution towards biodiversity, or more general protection of nature while providing an amenity such as a walk or make best use of a waterway, but you’re not sure what’s the best approach, this event will hopefully both inform and inspire you to grasp that opportunity.”  Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) are funding the event, the third in a series of four to highlight how local communities can confidently become participants in securing a sustainable environmental future, while helping their community to be a better - and ‘smarter’ place in which to live.

At next Thursday’s Nature & Nurture event, KLP propose to introduce a concept for placing tested financial as well intrinsic values on projects, (such as environmental initiatives), that have proven difficult to properly calculate. 

Fergus Horgan of KLP explains the objective, “Of course, not every project needs to provide a financial return on investment, there can be really valuable basic environmental, cultural and social benefits.  But we do know many such projects actually also do give a financial return, and we should reflect that in evaluating them; the problem is measuring it”.  “That why we are interested in the Social & Economic Return on Investment (SEROI) model, which makes it possible to set a real financial return, and thus increase the regard of funders to projects often seen only in general qualitative benefit terms.”  SEROI will make its first appearance in Ireland when Prescience Consulting present and explain how the concept can be used by communities in their planning and project applications.

The Graignamanagh event is the latest in the very popular series of workshop events on various the Smart Village themes, run by KLP over the last three years.  Declan Rice of KLP stated, “We ran the first event in Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in the summer of 2020, during one of the periods of easing of Covid restrictions, and we had a phenomenal turnout of 200 people,” the KLP CEO recounted. 

“The choice of an outdoor venue for that first Smart Village event was initially a result of trying to be as safe as possible in terms of Covid.  And with good weather, fascinating contributions from the speakers and the communities, and some food and refreshments provided, it was both a fun and informative afternoon, with an atmosphere somewhere between a training event, concert and a large family picnic,” he explained.  “So, we and Workhouse Union, the very talented event organisers, decided to stick to that semi-outdoor relaxed approach for subsequent events.  The summer of 2021’s event was in the Mountain View ‘farmer market’ venue outside Ballyhale, which was also very well attended with beautiful weather.  We are hoping that we again get the sun next Thursday afternoon to show off the magnificent Outdoor Hub site on the river in Graigue.” 

Registration to attend is by the Eventbrite website under Nature and Nurture- or by contacting the KLP office on 056-7752111.

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