The aim of the project was to network the communities and stakeholders along the River Suir
The main problem was a multi governance issue and multiple stakeholders each with their own special area of interest. The objective was to get people collaboratively engaged with the river and to get them to think beyond their own interest area. So a number of initiatives took place, including a variety of consultative initiatives to get people to know each other. Audits were carried out on access and egress with a view to securing funding to deliver improvements here and strengthen peoples connection to the river. Groups that work in their own areas such as Tidy Towns were brought together to share best practice and look at projects that would provide enhancement not just to their won area but to the river as a whole. Hard to reach and disadvantaged youths were targeted as they were known for having a negative or no interaction with the river and a series of initiatives took place to engage them with the river and become proud of it and use it in a more positive way. An art project was also initiated focusing on sound that worked with multi generational groups on their relationship with the river . The main stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project was the river users and communities and the local authority and the success or legacy of the project was that a strong positive working relationship was developed that has progressed to the delivery of other projects benefitting the river and river community.
Project was administered by Heritage Officer with timesheets for project team submitted over 4 years to the value of c €90,000 and projects delivered to the tune of approx. €200,000.
Evidence of success
Development of a successful model for engagement that has lasted and also delivered on large recreational projects such as Slalom Course Clonmel and the River Suir Blueway. There is also the upcoming Suir Island Masterplan which is also a development from this project.
Huge area , with multi governance and multiple stakeholders, difficulties in getting people to see beyond their own interest area and look at the totality of the river.
Potential for learning or transfer
The importance of communication in building effective long-term relationships with stakeholders.
Use of nature and heritage to engage with hard to reach youths ( learning new skills such as kayacking, fly fishing, photography and stone working)Use of art in heritage interpretation and experiences. (intergenerational creativity, recording or history and public involvement in art exhibition.
Sharing of skills between communities (revival of old traditional skills)
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