There are many initiatives that support groups working to improve their local environment and these can be broken into four approximate categories.
PRIZES/AWARDS - prizes are awarded for work done on a competitive basis.
GRANTS - funding is granted to specific projects that comply with scheme criteria.
ACTION CAMPAIGNS - activities are organised on a high profile basis providing focus and publicity.
QUALITY MARKS - assessments are made against a common benchmark for certification purposes.
As there are tangible benefits associated with all four types, our advice is that groups should apply to take part in as many as possible where circumstances allow so the benefits of one can complement the other. Assessment of quality standards can also be used by local groups to further their objectives under the areas covered.
We have put together all the initiatives we have come across in the TidyTowns Unit and these are listed beneath for your attention. If you are aware of any others that could benefit local groups, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National TidyTowns competition - This initiative is run by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and is sponsored by SuperValu. With hundreds of awards covering every aspect of the local environment and over €250,000 in prize money, this is by far the biggest community environmental initiative and has been running for over 50 years. In addition to its competitive aspects, TidyTowns is a development programme where all entrants receive detailed feedback on their yearly progress, can attend many seminars organised through local authorities, development agencies, tourism organisations and TidyTowns county committee networks and can use participation as a platform to initiate real change at local level. For further information, please click here.
Local TidyTowns competitions - The most numerous local initiatives are local TidyTowns type competitions organised by local authorities or by TidyTowns groups within their own areas. Most of these adapt the criteria of the national TidyTowns competition to local circumstances, and can be found under many different guises such as Cleaner Communities, Litter Leagues, City Neighbourhoods or local Pride of Place initiatives. While the format and judging criteria may vary from place to place, caring for the environment remains a central objective and they therefore play a major role in raising environmental standards across the country in general and in the national TidyTowns competition in particular. For further information on what initiatives are available in your area contact your local authority or local TidyTowns group.
All-Ireland Pride of Place Competition - This competition assesses a selection of groups nominated by local authorities through various mechanisms to represent their county. Criteria are quite broad and as well as looking at environmental projects they also include wider social activities such as provision of crèche facilities, supports for elderly persons, etc. The competition is hosted by Co-operation Ireland under its local authority programme in conjunction with the cross-border Local Authority Steering Forum. For further information about the All-Ireland Pride of Place competition, please click here.
Golden Mile Competition - The aim of this competition is to foster a greater appreciation of and regard for our country roadscapes by rural dwellers and visitors alike. This can be done through the preservation and careful maintenance of the flora and fauna, ditches, traditional stonewalls and other natural and built features in a litter free environment. It is available in certain counties but not in others, so contact your local authority to see whether a Golden Mile initiative is available in your area.
The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) - came into existence in 2010. ILDN is the representative body of Local Development Companies in Ireland. The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) is estabhlised as a company limited by guarantee, created by its member companies. It is supported by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. For further information about the Irish Local Development Network, please click here.
Local Agenda 21 - Funding is provided by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and local authorities under the Local Agenda 21 programme for projects which respect the social, cultural, economic and environmental needs of the present and future citizens of a community. For further information on Local Agenda 21, please click here.
Heritage Council Grants Programme - The Heritage Council is a publicly funded agency with responsibility to propose policies and priorities for the identification, protection and preservation and enhancement of Irish heritage. As part of its remit, it funds many heritage projects each year undertaken by a diverse range of bodies, including voluntary groups. For further information on Heritage Council grants, please click here.
Pobal - Pobal is a not-for-profit company with charitable status that manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU. Its mission is to promote social inclusion, reconciliation and equality through integrated social and economic development within communities and to this end provides financial supports through its community and voluntary grants scheme. For further information about Pobal, please click here.
Local Authorities- Many local authorities make a contribution towards costs to groups participating in the national TidyTowns competition so please check whether your local authority operates such a scheme.
Other Funding - From time to time new funding opportunities open up with the launch of new schemes or campaigns. We will endeavour to bring these to you in our news section of the site as they are launched.
National Spring Clean - This is a campaign organised by An Taisce in partnership with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and local authorities to encourage every sector of society to actively participate and take responsibility for litter by conducting clean-ups in their own local environment. National Spring Clean traditionally takes place throughout the month of April, however we would encourage participants to use it as a springboard for conducting more clean-ups throughout the year. Most local authorities will supply all the relevant materials to conduct clean-ups. For further information about National Spring Clean, please click here.
The Clean Coasts Project - This is an initiative organised by An Taisce which was established to improve the environment of the Irish and Welsh coasts, and to restore their aesthetic appeal and increase their amenity and economic value to the community and visitors. For further information about the Clean Coasts Project, please click here.
Heritage Week - This is a European wide initiative to encourage people to actively engage with their own heritage. In Ireland, the programme is coordinated by the Heritage Council in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. For further information about Heritage Week, please click here.
National Campaigns - Government campaigns are launched from time to time focusing on particular aspects of the community and local environment which, in addition to the publicity they may bring to your activities, often include new awards schemes and competitions. We will endeavour to bring these to you in our news section of the site as they are launched.
Green Schools - Organised by An Taisce this is an internationally recognised environmental education programme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole-school action for the environment. Participation is voluntary. For further information about Green Schools, please click here.
IBAL National Anti-Litter League - This is a name and shame programme organised by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) which involves surveying selected areas to establish litter levels in accordance with European standards. Surveys are conducted by An Taisce. While participation is not voluntary, results may be useful in furthering local group objectives. For more information about IBAL National Anti-Litter League, please click here.
The Blue Flag Programme - This initiative is organised by An Taisce and involves assessing the quality of beaches and marinas in accordance with European standards and awarding a blue flag to those with excellent environmental management. While participation is not voluntary results may be useful in further local group objectives. For more information, please click here.