A BRILLIANT vision of community action is being realised this week by one Listowel woman who is keen to see the neighbourly helpfulness of her childhood in town make a comeback.
The Listowel Favour Exchange was launched on Thursday - the brainchild of local woman Liz Dowling who wants to encourage a greater community spirit. It will work by getting names of people with various skills on a register, from plumbing to carpentry and so much more. If you're a member and need a little job done all you need do is ask a favour - provided you don't mind returning it when your skill is called upon.
"The Favour Exchange is an attempt to recover the community spirit of helpfulness and goodwill that prevailed when I was growing up in the 50's and 60's," Liz - originally a Beasley from Gurtcreen - told The Kerryman.
"It was the norm and it was fun too. All the neighbours mucking in saving the turf and the hay. Going to the shop for an ill neighbour; lots of things. I have great memories of those times as a child. Now favour exchange in these automated times works in that it is a pool of skills, hobbies or anything that one is willing to do to help out another but the bonus is that you can call that favour back from the pool of skills not just the person who did the favour," she explained.
It all came about after Liz lost much of her hearing. "I became hearing impaired very rapidly which necessitated giving up work as a therapist. Listening was the mainstay of my work! I felt useless and sorry for myself. Then I got over myself and decided that I would like to do something that made a difference in the community as well as to myself."
One day she read about the Clonakilty Favour Exchange and made contact. Bev from the Clonakilty Favour Exchange travelled to Listowel to share the vision with Liz and friends. Liz's nephews Kevin and Pat came on board with the IT know-how and the rest is history. To find out more about the fantastic venture simply log onto www.listowelfavourexchange.com.
"Some people have hobbies that they can share. It doesn't have to be a professional skill. Lots of unemployed people who are demoralised and need some inspiration to get back out there and make a difference. No money changes hands.
"As I was distributing posters advertising the launch, I read a thought for the day in a shop calendar: 'God isn't so much concerned with your ability as with your availability'. That just about sums it up for the spirit of favour exchange!" Liz said.
Now, all she needs is for Listowel to come on board and really make a reality of the community project.