Avondhu Blackwater Partnership this week launched the findings of the Mallow Estates Needs Analysis commissioned in partnership with the Mallow Estates Development Association, in the Woodview Drive Community Centre. The consultation process of the Mallow Estates Needs Analysis project has provided an opportunity for individuals, groups and various stakeholders, to identify and document challenges facing the communities in Mallow and is the latest stage of ongoing community development work between Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and residents of Mallow town.
Those attending included representatives of the Mallow Estates Development Association, the Gardai, the Mayor of Mallow Cllr. Willie O’ Regan, Cllr. Ronan Sheehan, Tom Barry TD, and staff of Avondhu Blackwater Partnership including Chairman Sean Hegarty and Chief Executive Valerie Murphy.
The launch began with a summary of the findings by Ms. Susan Barrett who was commissioned by Avondhu Blackwater Partnership to conduct the research. It addressed several areas of concern including Residents Issues, Health, Youth Issues, the Elderly, Family and Employment. The purpose of the Report is to determine the needs of the Mallow Estates in 2011 and to be used as a roadmap to plot where they would like to see future resources utilised in the Mallow area.
Some conclusions arising from the consultation phase were that almost half of the respondents felt they had good neighbours, and a similar number wanted any resulting activities or initiatives to be based in the estates themselves. There was also a clear desire expressed by members of the Estates Groups to be given the freedom and the means to shape and deliver the resulting initiatives themselves.
As Paddy Whelan, Chairman of the Mallow Estates Development Association put it, “it is about needs, not wants.” He went on to say that they wish to proactively engage with likeminded organisations to share ideas and develop a common approach and that people would have more pride in something they do for themselves as opposed to something done for them by the Town Council or Local Authorities.
Those with experience in working with Avondhu Blackwater Partnership expressed satisfaction with the support and programmes available, believing they were relevant and practical. Cathal O’ Meara the new Landscape Architect appointed by Avondhu Backwater Partnership was mentioned, as he has already started to work with residents groups in Mallow to begin the process of enhancing the visual aspect of the different estates.
Commenting on the launch, Valerie Murphy said ‘Mallow is a major focus for us in the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership. We have a range of Programmes and supports designed to maximise training and opportunities from a personal and community perspective. However a consequence of Mallows Hub status is that it has placed a restriction on our capacity to administer funding under the Rural Development Programme in Mallow Town. This is a source of on-going frustration for Avondhu Blackwater Partnership and we have made strong representation to the government and local politicians that this impediment needs to be urgently addressed for the benefit of Mallow”.
The launch is the beginning of what is hoped to be an ongoing series of supports and interventions to improve the physical environment and range of services available, the aim of which is to allow people to live and age with dignity and in peace. With this framework document in place it gives solid foundation to the aspirations of those people living in the Mallow Estates and something that other Agencies and Local authorities could use themselves to help in the formation of their own strategies.
Sean Hegarty summed it up at his closing address when he said, “if you have good neighbours, you’re half way there”.
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