The Kerryman's backing helped Farranfore project along the way

IT pays to get involved and volunteers in Farranfore Development Association were certainly testament to this after being 'highly commended' in a prestigious national competition, all thanks to a little backing from The Kerryman.

'Get Involved' is a local newspaper community venture rolled out across Ireland and The Kerryman was proud to select the Farranfore group as its entry in the national competition.

The decision was justified too, as on Thursday competition judge Duncan Stewart quite literally gave the thumbs up to all involved.

"I want to highlight the biodiversity and long term outlook of your proposed woodland along a stream, I was highly impressed," the ecologist, conservation architect and TV personality remarked as he presented the award at the Ashling Hotel in Dublin.

Indeed, of the 22 entries acknowledged on the day, just three projects outside the first three placings received commendations and so it certainly a worthwhile journey from The Kingdom for all involved. In presenting the commendations, the award-winning environmentalist said Farranfore had narrowly missed out in the overall top three and so deserved special recognition.

With Get Involved, local newspapers across Ireland lead and drive voluntary projects to create a sense of pride and motivation within the selected communities. Once the newspapers have selected their chosen projects, the project is championed by the local paper and receives appropriate coverage for the national competition.

Also speaking at Thursday's award ceremony which was followed by a visit to Aras an Uachtarain, were high profile industry representatives Sean Mahon of RPNAI and INM's Michael Ryan

"An incredible amount of time and effort has been applied from everyone here and from those who aren't here too - to say the calibre of project is impressive is an understatement," Mr Mahon stated.

Mr Ryan added that, from all the projects submitted, there were 1,386 volunteers involved across the 22 projects which received total newspaper publicity worth in the region of €90,000.