Tidy Towns to go ahead in 2021
5th November, 2020
Local Minister and TD Joe O’Brien has said his department is determined to ensure the 2021 TidyTowns Competition takes place. The competition, which has been running for over 60 years, was cancelled in April due to the arrival of Covid-19. The year previous, 2019, saw the Competition receive 924 entries. Minister O’Brien commended the efforts of TidyTowns volunteers who have continued to serve their communities despite the Pandemic.
“As Minister for Community Development and Charities I feel its important that we look at ways that community development and volunteering can be supported through the pandemic. Tidy Towns is certainly one of the most impactful groups nationally in this regard not just in terms of the positive difference they make to communities but also the ease at which they can facilitate new volunteers. I hope to announce the National Volunteering strategy later this year and there will be some emphasis in that on the role that volunteering can play in improving community interconnection and mental health. Due to the fact that the majority of Tidy Towns activities can be done by people while socially distancing and outdoors I know that Tidy Towns groups were able to operate for much of this year and continued to improve our communities.
So having been in discussions with my colleague Minister Heather Humphreys about how to proceed with the Tidy Towns competition next year. We agree we need to look at ways to facilitate the competition in an innovative way in 2021.
We don’t know what stage the pandemic will be at next year and obviously we have to follow public health advice. But I believe we can find creative solutions to ensure the 2021 competition takes place.”
Minister O’Brien said his department is in regular contact with the close to 1,000 TidyTowns groups around the country and “we are hearing of some wonderful projects and community-wide initiatives that have been delivered in recent months.”
Also speaking on the matter, Minister Humphreys said:
“We may need to alter and adapt our approach to delivering the competition next year given the on-going constraints posed by COVID, but we can retain the ethos of the competition that has stood the test of time so well.
“My Department is currently considering the format the competition could take next year, having regard to restrictions on gatherings at each of the five levels of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19, and the paramount need to protect the health and wellbeing of volunteers and adjudicators.
“The details of any changes in the competition will be shared with the TidyTowns groups well in advance.
“I want to assure the TidyTowns groups and the thousands of volunteers that my Department and the Government is absolutely committed to the TidyTowns competition and we look forward to encouraging more and more towns and villages to join us in future years.”
Discussions will take place between the various stakeholders, including the sponsor Supervalu, in this regard.
Note to Editor
€1.4million was allocated to TidyTowns Committees towards the end of 2019 to support them in their work for the 2020 competition.
The committees have been advised that this funding can now be carried forward to support their work in 2021.
In total, €4.2 million has been made available to TidyTowns groups across the country since 20217 to assist them with their work.