Ballyshannon is a resilient town and this year has seen a huge community effort across the board, as the town reinvents itself to meet the new challenges, including Covid-19. And community is the core ingredient to that success.
In recent years, Ballyshannon Regeneration Group (BRG) has been busy throughout the year working in conjunction with Donegal Co Council and groups like Ballyshannon Chamber and Erne Enterprise on projects aimed at developing Ballyshannon's rich Heritage and encouraging a greater awareness of the importance of Environmental issues.
Both of these are vitally important to Economic development so the story must be that Ballyshannon is a Tourist destination for all interested in the Historical, the Cultural, the active pursuits of the Great Outdoors and is also a beautiful town in which to shop or to sit and relax with a coffee and some home baked treat while enjoying the sounds and sights of river and sea.
Mary Duggan from the BRG told donegallive.ie:
"It is heartening to see people enjoying-this year probably more than ever-some of the earlier projects spearheaded by BRG and supported by the County Council through the Town Council of the time: the revamped Handball Alley -now lovingly maintained by the Handball players themselves- and the access path to the Paupers'/Famine Grave are two which come to mind.
"More recent projects, such as the restoration of the iconic Town Clock and the erection of the very detailed Heritage Information Boards at 10 sites around the town, are evidence of very big projects which can be completed when local builders, carpenters, painters and artists are happy to give-often freely- of their talents. Local businesses give everything from table space, to raffle prizes to sandwiches for events and people are willing to support in many other ways like buying a few lines to help raise funds or by turning out to support various events
"Voluntary work on specific heritage and environmental projects, as well as the continuous flower planting, weeding and grass cutting in places the Co Council doesn't get to -takes many ongoing man/woman hours of dedicated work-not just physical work but in areas like grant and report writing, accounting and general organising and it is great for the ongoing development of the town that so much is being achieved by a very small group.
"The same people can't go on forever so new people are always essential and very welcome; Ballyshannon Regeneration Group (BRG) has been fortunate in recent years to attract some very energetic and talented young people who have added fresh ideas, enthusiasm and hard work to that which has been there since the group was set up over a decade ago.
"Joining forces recently, in a more organised way than heretofore, with the long established small group which works with some Foróige assistance on the enchanting garden in Allingham Park, has also been a great boon for both groups. Here again we see a vision coming to fruition because professional people are willing to give a few valuable hours of their time to help out with skilled jobs as they arise. It is also very rewarding to accommodate current groups of Foróige and Transition Year students from Coláiste Cholmcille in their work on very worthy projects like Gáisce/The President's Prize and other self-development projects."
Ballyshannon is embarking on very exciting times: the recent announcement of a substantial grant for the town from the Regeneration Department of Donegal Co Council is very welcome news and BRG is looking forward to sharing ideas and working with other groups to ensure continued Economic development while respecting the environment and embracing Ireland's Oldest Town's very rich heritage and culture.
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