Thursday 18 January 2018

Community spirit in Malin is rising in anticipation of the SuperValu TidyTowns competition

SuperValu TidyTowns Committee
SuperValu TidyTowns Committee

SuperValu are celebrating 25 years of sponsorship of Ireland’s TidyTowns competition.

Beautiful Malin takes part every year, and does very well.

SuperValu came on board in 1992 to sponsor TidyTowns in what was a very natural fit. There are 221 SuperValu stores around the country and many of them are a fundamental part of the town, embedded in the fabric of the local community. Retail centres offer a focal point for people in a community and SuperValu is a part of that across the country.

“SuperValu stores are an integral part of communities throughout Ireland. We believe in the power and value of helping to build vibrant local communities through providing employment, supporting local suppliers and local initiatives. TidyTowns brings people together to work for a common cause, making our towns and villages better places to live and ensuring we are providing sustainable communities for future generations to come,” says SuperValu’s Managing Director Martin Kelleher.

Probably TidyTown’s greatest achievement has been not only bringing people to work together on a once-off project, but to also instil and inspire pride in a local area that continues to grow year on year. None of the competitions’ winners are prepared to rest on their laurels, but look to defend their place as Ireland’s tidiest town.

Locals in Malin still remember the 3rd of May, 1992. That was the day President Mary Robinson visited the small Donegal village to unveil a plaque celebrating their National Winners award in the Tidy Towns Competition.

“That win 25 years ago was the start of a great run for us,” says committee member, Anne Monagle. “For example, we’ve gone on to win either silver or bronze almost every year since the millennium.”

We went to Malin to see for ourselves how the town looks. We spoke to a few of the SuperValu TidyTowns committee members to find out how they continue to succeed.

SuperValu Retailer Gerry Doherty, Carndonagh and Malin Head TidyTowns Chairman John Mclaughlin
SuperValu Retailer Gerry Doherty, Carndonagh and Malin Head TidyTowns Chairman John Mclaughlin

“It was different in the beginning, there were more people in the committee in those days and there had to be as all the maintenance, cutting of grass was done with hand clippers! Now we have machinery, it’s still a big job, but it’s easier” John McLaughlin reminisces.

It’s clear that community spirit is bolstered by the competition. “People in the village are dedicated to the competition, the people are committed to their maintaining premises.”

“We are very proud of competing. A lot of small villages near us are surprised that we score so high in the competition, when they are so much lower. We find we are often in the top ten in Ireland every year.”

It’s clear that competitive spirit is alive and well in Malin. “We’re always looking for ways to improve the town, see if we can turn those silver and bronze medals into gold. So, for example, we have a new wildflower garden and bird-watching spots at the entrance to the town. And our community garden, which is allotments for locals, is fully up and running now. Working together, we really feel like we are pulling out all the stops this year.” Anne Monagle shared in a separate interview.

There are a number of projects that sprung up as part of the SuperValu TidyTowns competition, that continue to benefit the entire community and visitors to Malin.

“This garden we are sitting in was for the competition. All the stone walls in the village have been built in conjunction with the SuperValu TidyTowns. It’s nice to have the footpaths as well. These are all great projects that enhance the village.”

“We get great support from SuperValu, the shop in Carndonagh is very approachable! SuperValu is so involved in the community. It is great that they are involved with the TidyTowns throughout the country, keeping it alive. They have great pride in it.” John adds.

And will they win? “Well, if the tide stays in on the day, that would be great!” laughed John.

Read more great stories celebrating 25 years of SuperValu TidyTowns in the online magazine above.

Sponsored by: SuperValu

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