Well done to Delgany TidyTowns who were announced overall winner of the Waters and Communities Special Award 2021 at the SuperValu TidyTowns awards ceremony held in the RDS, Dublin today. In their application, the group demonstrated a great appreciation for their water environment and water heritage by undertaking innovative initiatives during the Pandemic and are worthy winners. They set up RiverWatch and carried out a Citizen Science investigation of the Three Trouts Stream system – mapping its course, tributaries, land-use, risks, pressures and water quality. They organised volunteers to take part in Earthwatch Dublin Waer Blitz, recording 50 samples. Getting completely immersed, they hosted a Water Heritage Workshop during Heritage Week in August and also facilitated Greystones and Delgany Junior Tidy Towns to re-connect with their local river and streams.
Judging the Waters and Communities Special Award
There was a massive entry to the competition with 55 applications received from across the country in 2021. The standard of application was exceptional and it was a very difficult assessment process.
All entries were assessed by a panel of judges appointed by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters Programme. The judges assessed each application for initiatives undertaken since the start of the pandemic. based on the following criteria:
- Awareness-Raising about the community group’s local water body (15 Marks)
- Community Involvement (e.g. by schools, landowners or other groups) (20 Marks)
- Stakeholder Engagement with the Local Authority, Local Development Company or any public agencies in developing the project (15 Marks)
- Project Benefits: long-term benefits to the environment and local community (40 Marks)
- Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future (10 Marks)
The 2021 prize fund of €7,000 for the Waters and Communities Award was divided as follows:
|Wicklow||Midlands & East||Delgany Tidy Towns||Regional winner &
|Dublin||Midlands & East||Raheny Tidy Village Group||Highly Commended||€ 500.00|
|Clare||South & MidWest||Ennis Tidy Towns||Winner||€ 1,000.00|
|Kerry||South & MidWest||Tralee Tidy Towns||Highly Commended||€ 500.00|
|Cavan||North West & West||Mullagh Sports Partnership||Winner||€ 1,000.00|
|Roscommon||North West & West||Ballyleague Village Renewal & TidyTowns Committee||Highly Commended||€ 500.00|
|Wexford||South East||Seal Resue Ireland||Winner||€ 1,000.00|
|Carlow||South East||Leighlinbridge Improvement Group||Highly Commended||€ 500.00|
Background to the Waters and Communities Special Award
In addition to the main SuperValu TidyTowns competition, Special Awards are held each year to highlight particular local environmental activities. Details of all the Special Awards and winners can be viewed at https://www.tidytowns.ie.
The Waters and Communities Special Award aims to encourage communities to get more involved with their local waterbodies by helping to preserve, promote and fully utilise their local natural heritage. Community groups who showed an appreciation for their water environment, and for water heritage in general, during the previous twelve months were invited to apply.
Community groups might, for example, receive this award for carrying out clean-ups, providing or upgrading amenities, supporting biodiversity, promoting angling or raising awareness in various ways. The Waters and Communities Special Award is sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authority Waters Programme. The Waters and Communities Special Award was first introduced in 2017 and is now a regular feature in the TidyTowns calendar. It is open to all community groups to apply.