Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (FODC) launch their Community Plan ‘From Talk to Action’ – 8 week Consultation

 

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Following the launch of the Community Plan, an Action Plan has been produced including actions which will help to begin to jointly tackle the major issues in the district.  A high level of partnership will be required to achieve this, with a focus on prevention and early intervention.   Some of the actions can be delivered in the short to medium term, others will take longer to fully achieve.  The draft Fermanagh Omagh 2030 Community Plan Action Plan can be downloaded here

Community Planning

Community planning brings together partner organisations from the public, private and community/voluntary sectors. Partners work together with local communities to deliver better public services which meet local needs and to improve the lives of local people.

Community planning is a new statutory duty which came into operation on 1 April 2015 as part of the full implementation of local government reform. As the lead partner, the Council is responsible for making arrangements for community planning in its area. You can find out more about the statutory duty here.

The “Fermanagh Omagh 2030” Community Plan is the overarching plan for the Fermanagh and Omagh district, bringing together the knowledge, expertise and collective resources of a wide range of partners, all working towards a single agreed vision. The Community Planning Partnership  believes that services and quality of life for all in the district can be improved by getting the public, private and community/voluntary sectors working together better towards our agreed vision and 8 long-term outcomes.

The plan has been co-designed with input from all key stakeholders including the wider community. The co-design process took place over 2015 and 2016 and the plan itself was launched in March 2017.

The draft Action Plan is available for consultation for 8 weeks between 18 December 2017 and 11 February 2018.  As the plans are about citizens place and their future, their say and engagement is important.  The Community Planning Partnership is keen to hear the views of citzens about what is included in the Action Plan.  You can complete an online survey here

FODC invite people to attend their Drop-in Public Information Events which will be held in January on the dates below.

Lisnaskea Library 16th January 2018, 6pm – 8pm

Omagh Library 17th January 2018, 10am – 8pm

Enniskillen Library 23rd January 2018, 10am – 8pm

Owenkillew Community Centre, Gortin 24th January 2018, 6pm – 8pm

Special arrangements will be made to accommodate attendees at each workshop.  Please contact FODC in advance for special requirements where requests will be accommodated where possible.  At the events, people will be given an opportunity to talk to trained facilitators who will discuss the Action Plan and note comments and input.

Following consultation, a report will be prepared and presented to the Community Planning Strategic Partnership Board for consideration before agreement of the final Action Plan.

You can make comments on the Action Plan via FODCs digital platform through Facebook and Twitter.  FODCs Facebook and Twitter accounts are @fermanaghomagh.  The Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan also has a hashtag where all communications are brought together for collective viewing: #fermanaghomagh2030

If you would like more information about the Community Plan Action Plan, please contact Oonagh Donnelly, Community Planning Officer by telephoning 0300 303 1777, ext 20213, textphone 028 8225 6216 or email community.planning@fermanaghomagh.com

 

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Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Geopark scoops top sustainable tourism award

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The GREBE Project congratulates the internationally renowned Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark who scooped the Sustainable Tourism award at the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards recently.  The Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopartk is located in Fermanagh & Omagh District Council area.  The awards, which were organised by Tourism NI and hosted at Enniskillen Castle on Thursday 18 May 2017, recognise excellence and innovation within the tourism industry.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Council’s Director of Community Health and Leisure, Robert Gibson said:

“I am delighted that Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark has been successful in this category. It is one of the Council’s flagship tourism facilities and this award is an endorsement of the Council’s efforts in managing and developing the UNESCO Global Geopark’s beautiful landscapes with great care and environmental sensitivity, while building a global tourism product that benefits local communities through trade, employment and improving access to the local environment.”

Mr Gibson added:

“the success of the other tourism facilities within the district at the awards is indicative of the superb tourism product on offer here in the Fermanagh and Omagh area.”

The awards ceremony recognised tourism facilities and individuals across 13 different categories. The Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark was one of two category winners from the Fermanagh and Omagh district on the night with Finn Lough Forest Domes securing the Unique Tourism Accommodation award. Other locally based tourism facilities and businesses also enjoyed success at the awards with Belle Isle Castle and Private Island being Highly Commended and National Trust Fermanagh Florencecourt, Fermanagh Self Catering and Erne Water Taxis commended in their respective categories.

For further information on the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark , please contact Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre by telephone on 028 6634 8855 or visit Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark.

GREBE publishes its 4th project E-Zine

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The GREBE Project has published its fourth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

We held our fifth partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland in February, where we held a joint conference with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 and launched our online training and networking platform renewablebusiness.eu.

This e-zine will highlight details of our Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in the NPA & Arctic Regions, our report which identifies technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low and our Growth Strategy Guidelines for SMEs in renewable energy.

We also have details of four participating companies in our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland (MSL – McCrea Services Ltd., Moffitt & Robinson, Rowe Energy and Winters Renewables) and information on three more of our policy workshops.  To read our e-zine, please click here

GREBEs Entrepreneur Enable Scheme to be rolled out in Spring 2017

Within the GREBE project, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) have been responsible for the work around the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (EES).  Over the last 18 months, we have been busy procuring the services of mentors, recruiting businesses (12 within the FODC region) and implementing the scheme. With almost 94% of the mentoring sessions in the pilot region now complete, the GREBE project is about to roll-out the EES to other partner regions.  Aimed at businesses that are either currently active in the Renewable Energy sector or wish to become involved in the sector through innovate approaches or business diversification, the purpose of the scheme is to provide business supports to assist those chosen to be involved.

The GREBE project will target businesses in the following areas and in the following numbers:

  • Western Development Commission – Ireland – 10
  • Environmental Research Institute – Scotland – 5
  • Karelia University of Applied Sciences – Finland – 3
  • Narvik Science Park – Norway – 10
  • Innovation Centre Iceland – Iceland – 5

The businesses will be able to avail of support around a range of areas that they will identify themselves.  In addition to sector specific Renewable Energy expertise, they may require expertise relating to Access to Finance, Business Growth, Human Resources issues, or any aspect that is relevant to business development.  Mentors with the appropriate expertise will be assigned to work with the business to address the identified area(s) and to deliver a bespoke support package. The level of support is up to 6 days of mentoring which can be delivered over a period of time commensurate with the business need.

The Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will be launched in Finland next week as part of our forthcoming Partner meeting , within a policy workshop “From resource to Sustainable Business”.  This public seminar will take place at Metla-talo, Yliopstokatu 6, 80100 Joensuu and you can register for the event here

Some information on the participant companies in the Northern Ireland pilot can be found in our e-zines on the publications page of our website http://grebeproject.eu/publication/

 

OASIS Plaza scoops a major award at the CEEQUAL 2016 Awards in London

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The OASIS Plaza in Omagh (Omagh Accessible Shared & Inclusive Space) has scooped an Outstanding Achievement Award at the CEEQUAL 2016 Awards held in London on 28-29 November 2016. The OASIS Plaza project beat off stiff competition from several nominated projects to take the outstanding achievement award in the category for ‘Community and Stakeholder Relations’.

The £4.345m project, which was officially opened by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in June 2015 and was funded through the EU Peace III programme, managed by the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB), was designed by McAdam Design and built by FP McCann Contractors. The Outstanding Achievement Award for Community and Stakeholder Relations recognised the contribution of both the design team and the finished build and in particular the involvement of the local community, school children and companies from the project’s construction to its finishing touches.

CEEQUAL is the evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects. It promotes and celebrates high environmental and social performance in the specification, design and construction of civil engineering works. The CEEQUAL Outstanding Achievement Awards recognise and acknowledge projects that demonstrate pinnacle best-practice performance and highlight some of the top sustainability achievements by civil engineering projects in countries around the world.

The Judging Panel described the OASIS project as having a “great concept” with the potential to really make a difference. The Panel Members stated, “This Scheme has made a big statement on how to bring communities together – it is a landmark in the development of community interaction. All sections of the community and stakeholder groups were engaged in all aspects of the project, from development to delivery.”

The OASIS Project includes a riverside pedestrian and cycle path along the banks of the River Strule, a Plaza, a link across the Strule River with a new pedestrian/cycle bridge and an elevated walkway into Omagh town centre. The Project has successfully joined the town up logistically and reduced the need for car travel. It segregates traffic and pedestrians, provides green spaces, and encourages trade in the town.

The aim of the OASIS Project is to enhance the physical and psychological links between disparate communities in Omagh Town. It provides safe, neutral, shared open spaces that increase opportunities for interaction through work and recreation. It reclaimed underused and unwelcome spaces and previously inaccessible lands within the town.

Since its official opening the OASIS Plaza has been the venue for several large-scale events, such as the St Patrick’s Day Festival, the Mid-Summer Carnival, the Halloween event, and other sporting events such as the Irish National Cycling Championships in 2015. Notably the Peace Pledge Project, launched in September 2015, witnessed 46 schools from across the Omagh area, representing primary, post-primary, controlled, maintained, integrated, Irish medium and Special Needs placing 46 stainless steel peace pledge plaques at the Plaza, each bearing a pledge to work towards peace and respect.

Speaking after the Awards Ceremony, the Chairperson of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Mary Garrity said,

“I was absolutely delighted to be a member of the Party representing the Council at the Awards Ceremony in London and to receive the Community and Stakeholder Relations Outstanding Achievement Award was the icing on the cake. Given that the CEEQUAL Awards are recognising projects from around the world, we were delighted that the OASIS Plaza had been shortlisted but to actually be a winner was absolutely amazing and testament to the outstanding work of the collaborative efforts of the Council, the Design Team and the Contractors. I wish to personally thank and congratulate McAdam Design and FP McCann for the sterling work they undertook with the Council to make the OASIS Project an internationally recognised shared space and CEEQUAL Award winner. I would also like to personally thank the Council’s Director of Regeneration and Planning, Ms Alison McCullagh, for her involvement and dedication to the project.”

Things that go BUMP in the Night

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Signs in a number of local towns and villages have warned of parking restrictions applicable through the night over the last 8 weeks, with warnings of dire consequences should they be ignored.  This all led to a heightened sense of anticipation of what was about to be moving through our region during the wee small hours.

Residents in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area have seen a number of very large vehicles transiting through the area over the last number of weeks.  These large transporters have been delivering large sections of wind turbines to a site at the Ora More windfarm in Boho.  Travelling at night in order to minimise disruption to local traffic and residents, these vehicles have become something of a local attraction in their own right, with many postings on social media from people fascinated by the logistics and challenges of making these plans come to fruition.

One local photographer has captured a number of still and moving images of this nocturnal activity which have attracted significant levels of interest with local people.

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When fully functioning, this wind farm will produce sufficient electricity to supply somewhere in the region of 13,000 homes.  In the context of our region, this is not an insignificant contribution to the local offering in terms of Renewable Energy.  This development has at least put Renewable Energy activity on the agenda for discussion in the region……………and that can only be a good thing.

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Photographs Courtesy of Mr Roy Crawford, Enniskillen