Gouldshill earns national accolade in housing awards
THE residents of the Gouldshill estate in Mallow have known it for a long time.
Now its claim to be one of the most progressive estates in Ireland has been recognised at national level after Gouldshill won the prestigious Housing for Families category in the 2013 Allianz Community Housing Awards.
Completed three years ago, Gouldshill is comprised of 213 units, 88 of which are managed by the Tuath Housing Association with the remainder coming under the control of Cork County Council.
Competition judges were impressed with the design qualities of the units, which were constructed to meet exacting energy efficiency standards and incorporate a high level of natural lighting, high efficiency windows and wall insulation.
The estate also drew warm praise from competition judges for the manner in which its residents have worked to develop a vibrant and forward thinking community.
The judging panel said the award recognised the "excellence in design, management, community development and sustainability" of the development.
"The project demonstrates excellent design and master planning and, amidst social complexity, is a successful collaboration with groups working on the ground including gardai, the residents association and community and youth groups," said the panel.
Sheila Thornton, chair of the Gouldshill Residents Association, while she was delighted at the award, she was not too surprised at the comments of the judging panel.
"In a very short space of time Gouldshill has developed into a wonderful place to live," said Sheila.
She said great credit must go to Cork County Council and Tuath for their input into the estate.
"Jennifer Ring from Tuath has put in Trojan work and it would be remiss of me not to mention the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership who have collaborated and given us financial assistant with a variety of projects," said Sheila.
"That said, bodies such as these can only do so much. Awards such as this are as much about the people who live on the estate and the great efforts made to foster a strong community spirit," she added.
Sheila said that it was unusual for an estate of this size to have such strong sense of its own identity.
"Estates on this scale can often be disjointed and we did have some teething problems, but it has been amazing to be a part of a community that has bonded so well, so quickly," she said. "The sense of community here is quite incredible. We do not live in each other pockets, but are always there to help each other out," she added.
Sheila said she believed the recent opening of a Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service (CDYS) centre in the estate has been another huge boost for the community.
"We now have locals giving courses in a whole manner of subjects to young people from the estate.
"This shows that we are not only thinking about the present but also working towards a bright and sustainable future for Gouldshill," she said.