Community groups across Galway city and county are invited to unveil their bright ideas – and claims a slice of a €100,000 fund for their dream projects.
KBC’s Bright Ideas community support initiative returns for a third year to support individuals and organisations which are transforming and improving the lives of others in their locality.
This year’s initiative will be promoted across seven different geographic regions, including Galway, reflecting KBC’s expanding network of retail banking hubs in Ireland.
A new ‘Green’ category has also been created to recognise the importance of environmentally friendly projects in communities nationwide. A dedicated prize of €2,500 will be given to the overall winner of this category.
Over the last two years, 70 creative and innovative local community projects have received funding through Bright Ideas, breathing new life into a diverse range of schemes.
These have included creating community based amenities for the elderly and people with special needs, sporting and educational activities for young people, community wellbeing resources, arts and culture initiatives, as well as urban renewal projects.
Among previous winners from Galway was the Tribesmen Rowing Club which received €3,500 in funding for its “Rowing to Recovery” project.
“Rowing to Recovery” helps women recovering from breast cancer to regain strength in their upper body through specially adapted rowing techniques. The funding has helped the volunteers to grow and develop their unique programme, the only one of its kind in the West of Ireland.
Being able to purchase lighter oars means the women drag less water when rowing and can focus the rowing movement on the upper body, which is highly beneficial for rebuilding strength after a mastectomy.
Robbie Winkles, a volunteer with the programme, commented; “If it’s an idea you believe in, don’t be afraid to put it forward, as KBC are looking for ideas outside the box. “
More than 300 community projects applied to KBC’s Bright Ideas for funding last year.
Entries will be reviewed by local independent judging panels located in seven geographical regions that correspond with KBC’s hub network – including Galway.
The judges’ top 14 projects will then go forward to the national final for public vote for the Brightest Idea – two regional winners will be selected from the seven geographical locations.
Applications for Bright Ideas funding can be submitted through the bank’s easy to use online application portal at www.kbcbrightideas.com, where last year’s winning projects are also featured if inspiration is needed.
The closing date for applications is May 31.
New President for Local Ireland
The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.
Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.
Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”
Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.
He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.
Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.
Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.
Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region
The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.
At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.
Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.
“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.
“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.
Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:
- Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
- Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
- Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
- Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
- Investment in people and skills
- Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
- Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth
Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless
One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.
In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.
Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.
Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.
Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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