IT was proven that Waterford certainly has Pride of Place after two groups took home top accolades from the prestigious awards ceremony held in Kilkenny on Saturday evening last.
The Alexander Street community was presented with an award for winning the Urban Neighbourhoods/Villages with a population under 1000 category. Waterford’s Deise Day Care Centre took top spot in the Age Friendly category.
In July, Judges from the national Pride of Place competition came down to Alexander Street to inspect Waterford’s inner city entry and to meet with residents and Council officials.
Pitching their entry, Frank Hynes, a resident of Alexander Street for the past 15 years, explained that the residents committee, consisting of four members, tries to help the small inner city community in “every way that we can”.
Commenting on the Alexander Street community the judges said: “Homely, convivial and happy are words that the judges used to describe this small city community. An active residents group is ensuring that this state of affairs endures.
“There are regular clean ups, community enhancement projects and, most important of all, social outings to enhance the lives of all the residents. The residents group is undoubtedly a crucial part of this charming enclave.” There is no doubt that the colourful hanging baskets that adorned the houses of Alexander Street also impressed the judges on their visit.
In congratulating the residents, Kevin Moynihan of Waterford City & County Council’s Community Department said: “The award was hugely justified and represents acknowledgement of the years of hard work, commitment and dedication of a small group of people to make their community a better place to live. Working jointly with Waterford City and County Council, the residents have shown determination to improve the streetscape of where they live but also to assist older neighbours to access services, attend appointments and to enjoy the essentials of life. Congratulations to Alexander Street Residents Association once again.”
Déise Day Care Centre, based in Mitchell Street, Dungarvan, equally impressed the judges who said they were particularly impressed by the “sense of shared happiness and enjoyment that emanated from those who were cared for and those who cared for them.”
“The empathy and commitment were palpable. Here is a very fine team of staff and volunteers delivering a home from home environment. This is a superb example of a community project that is dynamic, extremely well managed, provides an invaluable range of services and constantly looks for new and better ways in which activities can be expanded,” the judges said.
Sponsored by IPB, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said of the awards: “They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”