Sunday 26 May 2019

Collaboration is key to the survival of Border towns, workshop told

Margaret Roddy

The importance of collaboration to ensure the future of our towns was highlighted by Councillor Maria Doyle, Leas Cathaoirleach, Louth County Council, when she officially opened the workshop for border towns hosted by the Heritage Council, in conjunction with Louth County Council and Dundalk BIDS,

Speaking at the workshop in the Hotel Imperial on Thursday, she said: 'To see how many stakeholders are involved in the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Programme makes me so optimistic about the future of our town.'

Alison Harvey, Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Training Programme Coordinator, commented: 'We are delighted to bring all the historic Border Towns together in Dundalk for this second training workshop. We are very pleased to see the collaboration, focus and commitment demonstrated today. Our goal is to build a Town Centre that responds to and grows with future generations, working together is a key driver in this project's success.'

Dundalk is part of the Historic Border Towns grouping along with Monaghan, Donegal Town, Letterkenny and Sligo.

Virginia Teehan, CEO, The Heritage Council, described the Borderlands as representing 'currents of change. They offer room for the stimulation of new ideas and sometimes maverick approaches that can lead to real, positive change.'

Gráinne Shaffrey, Shaffrey Architects and Champion of Sustainable Town Centre Regeneration told the delegates: 'Our town centres offer resources we cannot afford to waste. Integrating business, residential, social, leisure and public spaces into town centres makes them relevant, vibrant and durable.''

The workshop covered government funding for both rural and urban regeneration, where the theme is to encourage liveability, footfall and activity within our town centres, ensuring sustainability and relevance for generations to come.

Nick Richardson, CEO, The Insights People informed the group how to speak to our younger people - 'Generation Speak, adding 'We need to innovate our high streets to make them relevant for consumers, we need to offer an added value to the customer so that the high street can flourish.'

Nicki Matthews, Dept of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht highlighted 'the opportunities to collaborate as part of this programme, people working together builds extra capacity, this programme allows us to refocus on our town centres as essential to our cultural heritage.'

The Argus