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Through the Front Door: The importance of finding a home in a lasting community

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For prospective home buyers, one question has increasingly come to the fore: how well integrated is my new home within the pre-existing community?

Remote and hybrid working has irrevocably changed the lives of many people across Ireland, creating the opportunity to become more fully engaged with their local community. From developing relationships with community businesses to becoming more involved in local sports clubs, the benefits of living in traditional commuter towns have only become more apparent in recent times.

Produced in association with Glenveagh Homes, Through the Front Door is a weekly podcast that provides listeners with all the tools they need to make their home buying experience as smooth as possible. Each week, the podcast expands listeners’ knowledge of the home buying process through a series of interviews with leading figures in the property industry, including mortgage brokers, architects, interior designers and sustainability experts.

When considering a new home purchase, it's vital to love where you live, so take a look at some of the incredible developments that are being made available all over Ireland by visiting the website here.

One of the key aims of the Through the Front Door podcast is to inspire new homeowners to “love community over commuting.” This is a key consideration for prospective buyers today, as explained by this week’s guest Annette McGarry, Community Engagement Manager at Glenveagh Homes.

Heading a dedicated community engagement team whose remit spans 14 Glenveagh locations across Ireland, Annette specialises in helping new residents to build and maintain meaningful relationships within their local area.

“We don’t just build homes, we build lasting communities,” she says. “Our strategy is built around that. As a team, we manage a number of community initiatives, sponsorships and partnerships – whether that’s with the local school, GAA club, or soccer academy – and are working with local residents to understand what their priorities are for the area, and what we can do to support that.”

One initiative Glenveagh has instated to improve their residents’ quality of life is a programme of weekly planting days. “It’s been great fun: getting out and about with the residents, getting the kids out planting on a Saturday morning, bringing along a coffee truck … [the planting days] have been really well received.

“We’ve also hosted larger events and community days, which offer lots of activities for the kids, like face painting and entertainment. Getting feedback from the residents and hearing what they want to do has been vital,” Annette explains.

Another example of Glenveagh’s community engagement strategy is their ongoing partnership with LGFA (Ladies’ Gaelic football Association), supporting their Gaelic4Girls programme in Athgarvan GAA club in Co. Kildare.

“We offer jersey sponsorships for the girls, to help with their efforts to encourage girls to return to the club.

“We’ve gotten so many phone calls, talking about how brilliant that initiative has been, and we’ve seen many local parents go on to start coaching in the club, as well as mothers who may once have played with the club getting involved again because of their daughters. It’s been really fantastic to see,” she says.

Listening to residents

From large communities across North Dublin to smaller ones in Kildare, Annette’s team ensures that their community engagement strategy for each location is unique to the specific needs of that area, taking into account the residents’ stated priorities and goals. ‘Our research involves speaking with key stakeholders in the area: literally picking up the phone or dropping an email to the local GAA club or cycling club or the park run – asking how can we help? What can we do together?’

From planning to post-sales, Glenveagh strives to reduce their carbon footprint, support local biodiversity, and respect the heritage of the area. In every new construction location, the company takes pride in restoring listed and protected features such as walled gardens, existing hedgerows and old stone walls.

The company also takes care to connect their developments with pre-existing transport nodes and amenities, as well as building sustainable infrastructure like electric vehicle charge points, cycle lanes, walking routes, community playgrounds and sports facilities. They invest in local communities across Ireland through their ‘Building Lasting Communities’ initiative.

Glenveagh’s holistic, community-focused approach marks a pronounced shift away from what Annette describes as the “build-and-run” strategy that has frequently characterised new construction initiatives. “It’s about working together and listening to the communities: really listening to what their needs are,” she states.

Annette explains that the role of Community Engagement Manager is a relatively new one within Glenveagh Homes – she has occupied the role for less than a year – but the team’s remit has quickly become a core component of the company’s overall ethos. Glenveagh focuses their investment on improving both the lives of their residents, and the lives of the wider communities in which they build, through six strategic pillars: Sustainability; Education; Health and Wellbeing; Local Economy; Charity; and Sports and Fitness.

The team at Glenveagh understands that buying a home is possibly the biggest decision you will ever make in your life. Their aim is to exceed your expectations in every way possible. To find out more about the buyer journey, visit the website here.


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