A few years ago STDC began working closely with a number of residents from Cooleens Close and neighboring estates to support them with a problem they had with a disused field that had become a site of anti -social behaviour. We met with the community to discuss what they wanted, how it might be done, who they needed on board with them and what they were prepared to do themselves. A plan was developed specifying key actions, responsibilities, outcomes and timelines. Agencies came on board to work in partnership with the community and support them to implement their plan.
The community received tremendous support from agencies and programmes – Tús, LCDP (previous programme to SICAP) Tipperary County Council, HSE/Community Based Drugs Initiative, Tipperary Education and Training Board and Department of Social Protection and within 6 months the field was transformed into a space that included an allotment, memorial garden, skittles area and a community cabin which is a centre for community activities in the estate.
Using the model of community development the transformation of the community extends beyond an obvious physical enhancement of the estate. It has:-
Brought people together to identify issues and create a response to them.
Facilitated the community to appreciate its own asset base in terms of skills, talent, knowledge and experiences.
Strengthened and fostered community leadership.
Contributed to an increased sense of pride and confidence in the community.
Improved relationships within the estate.
Improved relationships with outside agencies and services
Increased uptake of services by the community.
Empowered the community to have meaningful discussion and real participation in decisions that affect them.
The investment by STDC of resources in Cooleens Close community is the cornerstone by which the local community is supported to take charge of and respond to the issues affecting them. There can be no doubting the positive impact that this investment and the community development approach taken to this project has in terms of improving the quality of life for the residents in creating what is now a vibrant, energetic community that has at its heart a sustainable, community led model of progression and advancement.