Several Tidy Towns groups around the county received news last week that their annual grant allocation under the Kildare County Council amenity fund would not be approved this year. This news is a massive setback to the Trojan workers and the huge voluntary work they do in every area.
Naas Fianna Fáil representative, James Lawless, said he had been contacted by several groups who were bitterly disappointed at this news.
“We all see the great work done by Tidy Towns groups in every town and village across the county” said James ”and whatever small allowance the council paid out was more than reaped back in terms of the massive efforts, maintenance, manpower and energy that is put into each locality” said James.
“Whilst the volunteers all give their time freely, there is equipment to be purchased, insurance to be paid, petrol to be put into lawnmowers, tins of paint, refuse charges and the significant and logical costs of what is effectively a large scale, county wide voluntary landscaping operation in place”.
“The benefits of this are obvious, not just in terms of community spirit and a pleasant living environment but the whole package of developing, marketing and promoting each locality as places to live, to work, to shop and to do business. The council have now announced that grant money will not be available this Summer. Is the council proposing to perform this maintenance itself in return or will it allow the whole operation to run down?” James asked.
“The groups must now choose between scaling back their activities or relying again on local funding. The same hard pressed retailers and sponsors who already contribute is an already small pool and cannot be expected to cover the council’s shortfall this time”.
“The irony is that apparently if the Tidy Towns were running a festival this year or had some tie-in to the Gathering, then money would be no problem. It seems if you are off the government’s pet list of projects this year, you can forget about funding. This is highly unfair and is an unwarranted slap in the face for the tireless workers of the tidy towns right across this county” concluded James.