LEADER leading the way to an active 2022

Monaghan communities have been using LEADER funding to create walkways around their GAA pitches, opening up to the broader community and creating a great opportunity to meet others while keeping fit!

As we ease ourselves into 2022, we consider ways that we can renew and rejuvenate ourselves. The pandemic has encouraged us to take stock of our local surroundings and amenities; what do you utilise near you? Are there ways to reimagine and repurpose spaces in your communities, beyond what they were initially purposed for? The Monaghan LEADER programme provides funding for projects across the county that promote social inclusion, develop the local economy through enterprise and tourism, and protect the environment. Latton O’Rahilly, Clontibret O’Neills and Donaghmoyne GFC have used the LEADER programme to complete walking tracks at their pitches, while Cremartin Shamrocks GFC and Castleblayney Faughs got approval from Monaghan LEADER Local Action Group for similar projects.

After community consultations in the Latton Bawn area, the Latton O’Rahilly GAA Club established that, at night (especially Autumn to early Spring), there was nothing for the vast majority of the community to do outside if they were not involved actively in the GAA. The club wanted to change this and provide an outdoor facility available to the entire community. They received LEADER funding to develop a 750 meter lit walking track (2m wide) that would run right around its facilities. The track also includes a 110 meter lined running track (5m wide) and is undulating in parts to provide variety and challenge. The project has opened up the Club facilities to the larger community; ‘we now have a facility that enables all, young and old, to get out and get active and will enhance the community for decades to come

With assistance from LEADER, in 2019, Clontibret O’Neill’s GAA Club developed a track around the perimeter of their two football pitches. The walking track has proved to be a great success with people of all ages and abilities using the track from early morning to late at night. In 2020, in a bid to encourage the general public to use the track facility when training was happening on the pitch, the group sought LEADER funding to erect barrier perimeter fence between a section of the walking track and the pitch to prevent stray balls from entering the walking track; ‘the Club was delighted to receive the funding offered for the perimeter fencing from LEADER. The perimeter fence defines both areas distinctly and creates a boundary which will facilitate the safety of walkers on our walking track, which received significant use during the pandemic’. The fence also incorporates gates to allow access in and out of the playing pitch.

Donaghmoyne GFC GAA Club installed a 2 meter wide walking track with a spectator fence around the perimeter of their new pitch. The track is a facility for all of the community with the club locally advertising walking at set times in the hope that it will be used as much as possible, especially during the day.

‘The walking tracks we funded under the LEADER Programme are a great asset and amenity for the local community, it is priceless to have an accessible safe space to walk and exercise for everyone’ said Marianne McEneaney, LEADER Development Officer with Monaghan Integrated Development. As we embark on another year, try to make use of the surroundings and amenities available near you. If your local area lacks an available activity area, could a similar idea to those mentioned here be applied and funded by LEADER? We are keen to receive project ideas under the Social Inclusion and Environment themes. To chat and learn more about how Monaghan LEADER can strengthen your community spirit and space, contact  / 087 176 0877 and visit www.midl.ie 

Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.