Improving the Landscape – Winter 2002

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 Siobhán O’Malley outlines the work of Galway Rural Development Company

Who We Are

Galway Rural Development Company Ltd. (GRD) is a local development company, which was established in 1994. Local development means that we aim to help local people to improve the social and economic wellbeing of their area and ensure that all sectors of their community can benefit from these improvements. GRD covers all parts of rural County Galway, outside of the Gaeltacht areas. Our main office is on Old Church Street, Athenry and we also have staff based in Loughrea, Tuam and Ballinasloe.

How We Operate

GRD is managed by a partnership of representatives from the community and voluntary sector, social partners, state agencies, local government and the private sector. It receives funding from the National Government and the EU, through two main programmes. These are the Social Inclusion Programme, which is aimed towards improving the quality of life for people not otherwise benefiting from improving living standards, and the National Rural Development Programme (follow up to LEADER 11), which provides investment and training for community groups and innovative enterprises. GRD also operates the Small Farm Family Programme, assisting farm families with exploring their options to maintain their traditional livelihood, and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme, assisting unemployed people into self-employment.

What We Do

GRD works with individuals, area-based and issue-based groups, offering development support and grant aid in a broad range of sectors, such as:

Support and guidance to communities and issue groups seeking to develop their capacity and take action, especially those at early stages of development

Support for people with disabilities and travellers exploring issues affecting them

Information and advice to farm families on various schemes, alternative enterprises, examination of needs of low-income farm families, pilot skills training programmes

Support for young people at risk of under-achievement or early school leaving and those who have already left mainstream education without a Leaving Certificate qualification

Assistance to long-term unemployed people in exploring employment, training, education and personal development options

Self-employment support for long-term unemployed people, such as training, mentoring and reducing scale of social welfare payments, through the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme

Estate management advice, promotion of social housing as an answer to housing needs, improving accessibility, and back up support for those seeking to relocate to the county

Assistance for community groups and individuals in exploring and developing business ideas

Athenry Projects

GRD has assisted the set up and development of numerous projects in the Athenry area in recent years. Financial assistance was given for landscaping and development of the grotto in the Millenium Park at Lady’s Well, creating and planning the Athenry Medieval Festival and support for the mural painting to complement the activities of the festival, provision of equipment to Athenry ADC for publication of The Athenry Journal and for marketing of Athenry through a tourist brochure, extension to Newcastle Community Centre, development of Esker Pitch and Putt Course, provision of special forum for local students at Athenry Agricultural Show and support for business set-up, such as Autograffit and a Computer Training Centre.

We would particularly welcome community groups in the Athenry area to contact us if they feel they need support in focusing on priorities and taking action. We are planning an event in Athenry in the New Year, in co-operation with Athenry ADC, to inform individuals and groups in Athenry about assistance available through GRD and Athenry ADC and we also welcome community organisations in Athenry to participate in this event.

If you want more information about any of our services, you are welcome to call into GRD’s main office on Old Church Street, Athenry. .

Siobhan O’MaIIey is Information Officer with GRD.

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About this record

Written by Siobhán O'Malley

Published here 28 Jul 2023 and originally published Winter 2002

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