Carmel Kirby: Programme Manager for Regeneration
IN 2012 Limerick City Council took over the running of the regeneration project, with a new, sustainable and achievable plan for the four areas developed.
Following one of the most extensive and comprehensive public consultation processes ever undertaken in Limerick the Council adopted the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan (LRFIP) in 2014 paving the way for the large-scale redevelopments of Moyross, Southill, St Mary’s Park and Ballinacurra Weston.
At the heart of the work we are carrying out is to provide safe and sustainable communities, where people of all ages can enjoy a good quality of life, a decent home and a sense of pride about their place. Our overarching aim is to develop well serviced and attractive neighbourhoods which will be physically connected and fully integrated with the social, economic and cultural life of Limerick.
There have been advancements in all areas of physical, economic and social regeneration in the four communities since the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan was adopted. The most visible is in the area of physical regeneration in the housing demolition, construction and refurbishment programme.
These include the developments in Cliona Park, Colivet Court, Churchfield in Southill and Lord Edward Street, with plans being developed for Cosgrave Park, Churchfield, Cliona Park and Sheep Street
In tandem with the physical transformation there has also been significant activity in the areas of social and economic regeneration where people and organisations are working together to deliver for the communities. The social intervention fund resources projects in the regeneration areas that deliver our social and economic objectives.
These projects include after schools services, the children and parenting programme ‘Incredible Years’, development of community and enterprise centres, various music and sport initiatives, and outreach home visiting programmes.
A monitoring report evaluating the projects financed through the Social Intervention Fund which will be published shortly outlining the progress made both socially and economically since 2012 and how they tie in with the objectives of the LRFIP. As part of the next phase of social regeneration we will work with the four communities to see how their communities can be further developed in line with the objectives of the LRFIP.
Since the launch of the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan, the investment through the Social Intervention Fund has also acted as the catalyst for the economic pillar of the plan.
Sustainable communities require sustainable jobs and appropriate training for residents in the four communities to become ‘job ready’. A host of innovative training programmes have been put in place in the past number of years. The Hospitality Training centre in the LEDP in Roxboro is a perfect example of successfully matching training and real job market opportunities.
This will be the focus in the coming years in terms of developing more training opportunities and engagement with the private sector that will lead to employment. The areas of healthcare, food, construction and the service industry will be key sectors of focus in the coming years.
The development of a social enterprise culture in Limerick is a major ambition for the city and one that will provide many new opportunities. Combining these sectors for future focus with recent announcements such as Troy Studios, job expansions in Northern Trust and the Digital Hub and Production and Digital Skills Academy based around the Biblical Centre on Dominic Street continue to highlight the commitment and further illustrate the momentum around economic development. This approach is designed to have long term benefits for the residents of Moyross, Southill, St Mary’s Park and Ballinacurra Weston as well as the whole of Limerick City.
Successful delivery of the LRFIP requires a partnership approach with all public bodies, the private sector and community organisations working in close collaboration to deliver the programme, in particular social and economic regeneration.
It is important to remember that the regeneration programme is a priority from a social perspective and is explicitly recognised in both the Programme for Government and the Social Housing Strategy 2020. It is the stated objective of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to ensure that this important programme is supported. It targets some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities by addressing not just the physical environment but also investing in the social and economic regeneration of the areas.
The implementation phase of the plan can have an impact on residents as the various projects are designed in detail and commence construction. As such we view communication with residents in relation to the development of their communities as critical Limerick City and County Council is committed to ensuring that there is pro-active communication with residents during this important implementation phase.
The regeneration projects are for everyone and we will work together so that everyone benefits.