Community groups covering wide areas of County Sligo were represented at the Your Community Needs You event in the Sligo Park Hotel on Thursday night of last week.
Sligo Weekender teamed up with County Sligo Leader Partnership and Sligo Community Forum in hosting the event. It was chaired by Sligo Weekender editor Robert Cullen.
Sligo Leader CEO Chris Gonley outlined how the organisation supports local communities through its many programmes. He said that in cases where communities are required to come up with a percentage of funding for a project to avail of a Leader grant, the local groups enthusiastically rise to the challenge.
“I have never heard them say no, they just go out and do it,” he said.
Sharon Boles of Sligo Community Forum said it was their aim to ensure the voices of community and voluntary groups are heard. With a membership of 702 groups, the Forum acts as a Sligo network to enable the community and voluntary sector
to meet and address common issues and concerns, and put forward those views at a county level.
She said that elections to the forum are coming up shortly and she appealed to community groups to become involved.
Chief Supt Michael Clancy addressed the audience on behalf of the gardai in the Sligo Leitrim division.
He zoned in on the role of community gardai which he described as “the cornerstone of policing”.
The Chief Supt also said he had been greatly impressed by the standard of entries for the Garda Youth Achievement awards held in February. “By their good work, these young people showed that they are a credit to their communities,” he said.
Community editor of the Sligo Weekender, Brian McHugh, spoke on how communities and local newspapers can work together. And he stressed the role community based newspapers play in reporting on what happens at “street level” in communities. “News of local events, however small, are the lifeblood of a community newspaper. We believe the coverage of very localised events can play a vital role in building and maintaining communities”. He said he was proud of the fact that that the Sligo Weekender is a local newspaper with no generic content.
Several local correspondents of the Weekender attended the meeting and joined with the organizers and representatives of community groups in workshops after the speakers had concluded.