The ‘North Kerry, West Limerick: Smart Villages, Stronger Communities’ project is an initiative jointly led by North, East and West Kerry Development (NEWKD) and West Limerick Resources (WLR) in association with KPMG Future Analytics and University College Dublin. The project addresses the unique challenges facing Ireland’s rural regions today. With support under the Rural Development (LEADER) Programme 2014-2020, this project aims to unlock innovative new solutions for the sustainable growth and development of rural communities within the North Kerry – West Limerick region.
The project is underpinned by the concept of ‘Smart Villages’. Informed by the EU Action for Smart Villages launched by the European Commission in 2017, ‘Smart Villages’ refers to rural communities that embrace creative and innovative solutions to create attractive and sustainable rural places in which to live and work. Social inclusion, participation and collaboration are key elements of a smart village approach, which involves communities coming together to identify and implement practical solutions to the challenges facing rural areas. The project will produce an integrated development plan for the North Kerry – West Limerick Region, based on a smart village approach to help support local communities in shaping their own sustainable future.
The Smart Villages, Stronger Community Project was publicly launched in September 2021 with the “Co-Developing Smart Villages – Towards Stronger Rural Communities” event. This two-day virtual conference saw expert speakers from Ireland and abroad explore how the smart village concept is leading to successful outcomes across Europe and how it can support sustainable growth and development in Ireland’s rural areas. The first of several planned community workshops was also held online in October 2022 and saw residents discuss the strengths, constraints, threats and opportunities they envision for the region.
The next community workshops are scheduled to be held in person in Kerry and Limerick this coming April and May 2022. Prior to these workshops, the project team is launching a community survey to help build up a detailed picture of the region and inform subsequent stages of the project. To date, the project team have built up a detailed demographic profile region based on census data available from the Central Statistics Office and Pobal. This survey intends to move beyond numerical data to help capture residents experience and their vision for their community’s future.
The project team invites all residents with the region to complete the survey and make their voices heard in envisioning its future. There are several means by which to access and complete the survey, to ensure all residents can complete the survey in a manner that best suits them.
An online version of the survey can be accessed at the following link and will remain live until the 28th of March: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/nkwlcommunity
Paper copies of the survey are available for collection at NEWKD and WLR offices, and will also be distributed at related Community Workshop Events that will take place throughout April and May 2022. Completed copies of the paper survey can be returned to NEWKD and WLR offices and at the Community Workshop Events throughout the project duration up to September 2022.
To learn more about the project and keep track of events please visit the project website at: https://nkwlsmartvillages.ie/
This is a partnership initiative between NEWKD and West Limerick Resources and supported by Kerry and Limerick LCDC’s through LEADER Cooperation Funding.
NEWKD: Robert Carey; RobertCarey@newkd.ie
WLR: Suzanne Rowley; firstname.lastname@example.org
KPMG Future Analytics: Aoife Doyle; email@example.com