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Longford County Council leads on Rural Working Hubs

Strategy and guidance shortlisted for national and European awards

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Press Release

12 October 2021

Longford County Council is delighted to confirm that its Strategy and Guidance Document on Rural Working Hubs has now been shortlisted for two separate awards.

The groundbreaking work of the Longford County Council Regeneration Team, which was supported by Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan and the elected members, was recently nominated in the Local Authority Innovation Category of the seventeenth annual Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards 2021. Now, that work has also been shortlisted in the Economy category of the prestigious European-wide Innovation in Politics Awards 2021.

The annual Innovation in Politics Awards recognise innovative projects based on European values of social balance, democracy, and human rights. It is about pushing boundaries and recognizing creativity from across Europe where pioneering new solutions are being found for today’s challenges. Over 1,000 Europeans make up the citizens’ jury, which evaluates the projects to determine the finalists and winners in the awards’ nine categories.

Commenting on the second nomination for the work on the Rural Working Hubs Strategy and Guidance document, Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Cllr Peggy Nolan said, “This is yet another example of Longford finally being recognised for what it has – an abundance of talent and dedication to the projects that really matter. Rural working hubs make an important impact on people’s daily lives and they help to sustain our communities. I want to thank the Regeneration Team for pushing this innovative work forward and all my fellow elected members for backing these hubs from the start”.

Chief Executive Paddy Mahon said, “It’s a testament to the quality of the work being done here in Longford that the guidance document produced by our Regeneration Team has been used as the basis for the national guidance document for this area going forward. I want to congratulate them and the foresight of our elected members for choosing to support this progressive approach.”

The Strategy

Longford County Council is the first council in Ireland to develop a Rural Working Hub Strategy that suits the needs of the local community. The purpose of the project is to address the fact that 3,324 workers travel outside County Longford for work (statistics correct as per the 2016 Census). The aim of the project is to provide those people with an opportunity to live and work within their local communities and therefore prevent the loss of daily economic and social activity there.

The project emerged through Longford’s involvement in a European-wide project with partners in Finland on rural working hubs. The consultation process included a webinar hosted by Longford County Council, which was attended and presented at by Minister of State with Responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy TD as well as over 90 European participants.

Contributing to a more sustainable future

To date, the initiative is developing Rural Working Hubs in three locations in Longford: Edgeworthstown, Abbeyshrule and Ardagh. These state-of-the-art facilities allow employees to work closer to home; provide a base for entrepreneurs and start-ups; contribute towards a low carbon future and help redevelop Longford's towns and villages under a digital strategy. Targeted regeneration of towns and villages, international collaborations and grassroots involvement ensures a long-term approach to a more sustainable society. 

Editor’s Note:

  • The seventeenth annual Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards 2021 are due to take place on 18 November 2021. Longford County Council has also been recognized with a nomination for The County Longford Decade of Centenaries Programme, 2020-21 in the Commemorations & Centenaries category.
  • For the Innovation in Politics Awards 2021, the 10 top-scoring projects in each category will be announced on Tuesday, 12 October 2021 before an overall awards ceremony takes place in December.