This week, Liam Sheedy launches North Tipperary Development Company (NTDC), the new name and identity for North Tipperary LEADER Partnership and the new body unveils the five key themes that reflect its vital contribution to social and community development in the county.

NTDC will organise its wide range of supports in the county under five themes – Community Development, Individual & Families, Enterprise & Employment, Environment & Energy along with Developing Opportunities. These programmes, that will reach approximately 7,000 individuals and over 230 communities and community groups, will involve investments of approximately €8 million annually in the coming years.

The Community Development strand will continue to improve community infrastructure and the public realm of our towns and villages. Projects include renovations to community halls, development of safe off-road community walkways in rural areas, youth theatre and community playgrounds.

There will also be a focus on marginalised groups such as the long-term unemployed, young people living with disability, elderly and those living with mental or physical disability and long term unemployed.

Supports to Individuals & Families include a community-based Family Support service. This is an early intervention approach, working in partnership with families as well as with other agencies and professionals to assist those experiencing challenges of one kind or another. The service is child-centered and works to promote family coping and resilience. Families can be supported with issues such as, Parenting Relationship break-up, bullying and neighbourhood/community relationships etc.

NTDC also operates Ascend, an integrated service to address domestic abuse and support those experiencing its impacts.

The Enterprise & Employment strand supports those wishing to start a new business or to grow and expand an existing business and supports those who wish to get involved in the development of social enterprises in their local communities. Supports to individuals include learning for life, personal development and wellbeing, youth development, work readiness, work planning and career support and enterprise support.

Environment & Energy also supports projects generated by community groups, social enterprise or private enterprise under the Rural Environment Theme.  This theme is a key focus for national government and NTDC are concentrated on backing promoters interested in availing of funding for projects centred on protecting Water Resources and Local Biodiversity or developing renewable energy projects.  Reducing the county’s CO2 emissions and improving the quality of our natural environment is at the heart of this theme.  Up-and-coming initiatives to keep an eye out for include the roll-out of Energy Audits for 12 Community Buildings across North Tipperary, along with District Heating Feasibility studies focused on 5 localities.

The New Opportunities strand will see NTDC developing new opportunities for the county to meet emerging challenges and trends. The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and other funding streams will be targeted for much-needed project funding and the company will engage with emerging statutory frameworks such as the National Social Enterprise Strategy and the Community Development Strategy and the EU Smart Villages initiative.

Chairperson Jim Finn explains that work under the new themes offers exciting opportunities for the county in the coming years.

“NTDC’s work will continue to span the entire range of rural development, social inclusion, employment services, local development and environment supports. The bottom-up, community-led approach is well suited to contemporary challenges. Whilst the approach remains the same, I’m confident that the new themes and structures will grow the company’s effectiveness across the county.