The Town Team recently held a gala evening for their second ever Ballinasloe People of the Year Awards in the Shearwater Hotel with almost 500 guests and community organisations in attendance.
54 nominations for people and organisations were honoured, with each nominee receiving a certificate recognising their achievements. RTE Sports Journalist & Broadcaster Darren Frehill hosted the event, which was sponsored by the Credit Union, the Shearwater Hotel and KPW.
The Town Band under the baton of Noel Madden welcomed attendees with a fantastic symphony performance before everybody could move to the Plaza Suite for the event.
Seamus Duffy, the Chair of Ballinasloe Area Community Development (B.A.C.D.) opened proceedings welcoming everybody and updating the gathering on the Town Team’s projects, of the past 2 years - specifically mentioning the Zombie Walk that brought a sellout crowd of over 2,100. He also reminded the audience that while the Enterprise Centre was almost sold out again – the town has no capacity for new industry and he was pleased to announce that funding had been recently secured from the Credit Union to apply for full planning permission for a new advance modern light industrial factory on the IDA Business park to be shovel ready for new industrialists. He also mentioned that the group were in the process of hosting a seminar on the possible future uses of the old St. Bridgids Hospital complex. “Our next priority is the Festive gathering and Town illuminations and I thank all those associated with the staging of the evening and the awards especially the sponsors, whilst saluting all the nominees for their work in sustaining our community”.
Adrian Ahearne the Chair of the Credit Union spoke about how their Board and organisation were very much agreed to be supportive and acknowledging all the efforts of the many group and clubs that make up the fabric of our town and community. “ The Credit Union used to sponsor the old Mayoral awards some years back as we have been anchored in the needs of our local and we know and appreciate the efforts of volunteers , in a way that no other financial co – operative does . I want to thank the organisers and congratulate the nominees and winners this evening “ stated Adrian.
M.C. Darren Frehill of Lawrencetown then took to the stage, congratulating all nominees. “I was blown away, reading some of the nominations. It feels almost unfair to single out winners,” Darren mentioned his younger years growing up in the locality and how the sports clubs were a key aspect of his formation and how pleased he was to see so many people in their sporting attire at the event.
Nominees for all categories were introduced and awarded certificates of achievements by Adrian Ahearne. An interlude for food followed, during which the local music group Pleáracá performed. The break concluded with soprano Ciara Lawless, a sixth year student in Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone, performing some well known classics.
The category winners, were then announced as follows:
Arts, Cultural and Heritage Award – Lawrencetown Community Development-Heritage & Tidy Towns Focus Group
Business Community Spirit Award – Gullane’s Hotel
Social, Community & Civic Pride Award – Ballinasloe Social Services
Sports and Recreation Volunteer Award – John Donnelly (Cycling)
Sports and Recreation Individual Award – Heather Payne (Soccer)
Sports and Recreation Team Award – Ballinasloe Itosu-Kai Karatedo Ireland
Young Person’s Award – Julianna Green & Laura Frehill
Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement Award – Liam Kelly
Liam Kelly received the Hall of Fame award from Tom Quinn, the winner of the award in the inaugural event two years ago.
Jacinta Divilly, Co – Ordinator of the Town Team closed the evening, thanking the crowd for their support and congratulating the nominees, especially Liam for his lifetime achievement award. “I of course want to thank our sponsors for the evening. Thank you again to the Ballinasloe Credit Union, for sponsoring the Awards once again. Thank you to the Shearwater, who ensured a fantastic evening here tonight, feeding over 480 people supper in less than 30 minutes. And thank you as well to KPW, our new sponsors for the award,” Jacinta commented.
Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, got a few moments on stage to congratulate the nominees and winners. He specifically praised the young nominees and their talents. He also mentioned the Town Team’s projects, praising their continued efforts to make Ballinasloe a better place to live and work. “ between the Surmodics Investment, the e fibre project and the advance planning for new industry – the work of the Town Team is being responded to and supported by a listening and encouraging Government who will help those communities that are trying to help themselves “, noted the Minister.
A raffle ran during the evening, with all proceeds going towards the continued enhancement of the Christmas Lights & Illumination Festivities. The Tops prizes was a €500 travel voucher from Kellers Travel, which was won by Nora Flaherty.
The IDA’s Business and Technology Park in Ballinasloe is to undergo a series of infrastructure upgrades.
The contract for the works will include replacing road and footpath surfaces, improving signage and road markings, and the installation of LED lights throughout the park.
Senator Maura Hopkins, of Fine Gael, says the Ballinasloe Area Community Development company has worked hard to promote the town for business.
However, Senator Hopkins says the IDA needs to continue to provide more office accommodation to attract investment.
Sandy's Dog Grooming is located on Church Hill and has been beautifying and looking after Ballinasloe pooches for the last 3 years. Sandra herself is the owner of Sandy’s Dog Grooming Salon. From a very early age she has had a love of animals and knew that she would have a career working with them. After finishing secondary school, she completed her Diploma in a renowned dog grooming School in Poland.
She also has a Certificate in scissoring, stripping and basic animal care. In 2012 she fulfilled her ambition to open her own dog grooming salon and Sandy's Dog Grooming Salon was born.
The world of dog grooming changes so fast, so Sandra regularly attends seminars and grooming events. Outside the work she loves to spend time with her family and her big furry Berger de Brie(Briard) called Gucci.
Sandy's grooming salon is a truly unique place for your pet to relax and get beauty treatment. It is custom designed for the safety and relaxation of your dogs. Her mission is simple : to provide professional grooming, in a low-stress environment that will leave your pet feeling happy, healthy, and rejuvenated.
To have a chat with Sandra about booking your dog in Sandy's Dog Grooming Salon just give her a call on 086 665 4069 or visit her facebook page or website
Sandy is also a miracle worker!! Coming to the very brave rescue of Poppy who managed to get herself into a bit of a sticky situation.
By Ciara Beresford
Her most recent job was for Winters Property management in Galway, where she was project manager for all of their developments. “Project managing is an all-consuming role and I felt that a 12 hour day working with engineers and contractors was not what I had returned home to do. I had hoped to spend more time with my husband, Brendan and our children. I wanted to have a job that I would really enjoy”, admitted Maresa. “When Hills Shop came up for rent it brought back fond memories of my childhood in Ballinasloe, of the ice-cream parlour that was there for many years”, mentioned Maresa.
Her parents Michael and Mary Dolan also had a shop and filling station in Cleaghmore or better known as the Ashtree, therefore ice-cream and sweets were always in Maresa’s life. Maresa hopes to bring good quality food to the people of Ballinasloe and at the same time support local suppliers where she can. Missy’s will offer a wonderful range of fresh foods, icecream, old style sweets, great coffee, teas and all of the usual great products you would find in a deli. She emphasises that the products used in Missy’s have been sourced locally where possible. Maresa will also be catering for outside events such as parties and weddings, provide cakes for occasions and also prepare picnic baskets for special lunches. In the near future, Maresa hopes to have a cafe set up in the shop.
“I would have hoped to have this in place at our opening but planning permission is required and this takes time. We hope to have this in place as soon as we can so customers can sit down and enjoy a coffee and children can have a milkshake or a nickerbokerglory and make more happy memories together”, added Maresa.
For more information on Beechlawn Organic Farm and their wonderful produce check out their webshop or sign up for their weekly deliveries of fresh, delicious, organic fruit and veg!
Timeline, Business Development
• 2002: 2 acres of veg grown, 1st volunteer stays with us on a 6 week internship from a horticulture college in France. 1 small polytunnel erected, 20 customers joined our new box scheme, and application for Organic licence submitted. Farm shed is cleaned out and whitewashed for the new enterprise.
• 2003: Lots of volunteers come this year, sometimes three at a time. Organic Licence granted! 2nd polytunnel erected, heated propagator bought, Grant received from Galway Rural Development, rotovator, tractor, two wheel rotovator, plough, and tiller bought.
• 2004: 3rd polytunnel erected. Deliveries in Athlone and Ballinasloe now up to 80 customers on the box scheme.
• 2005: 1st farm van purchased. 4th polytunnel erected, 1st full time employee on the farm for the Spring Summer and Autumn. Market in Athlone and Ballinasloe begins in August. Home delivery customer numbers reduce as people now come to our market stall. Cold room built into farm shed.
• 2006: Market in Loughrea starts in August. Home deliveries down to 30. Wooden student house erected for volunteers and farm workers.
• 2007: 2 full time employees as well as Padraig and Úna working full time. New shed door and a 10,000 sq ft multi span polytunnel with the help of the Dept. of Agriculture “Organic Grant”. New extended heated propagator and our 1st tunnel is devoted completely to seed sowing and germinating. Number of volunteers who have stayed with us since 2002 now above 60! 1st Farm Open Day with music, food and tours in August. Home delivery numbers increase to 50, now including Loughrea. A busy Christmas with extra markets and our annual holiday after Christmas.
• 2008: Started selling at the Oranmore and Moycullen Farmers market. We grew 13 acres that year, in cluding 8 new acres rented across the road from the farm.
• 2009: With the help of Musgraves, Supervalu and Bord Bia and with some funding from the Organic Unit at the Dept of Agriculture Forestry and Food we bought a shrink wrapper and a barcode label printer. We renovated our packing shed and started selling packaged veg to shops and supermarkets. We put another four acres of rented land into organic conversion and planted a green manure for using in 2012.
• 2010: With another grant from the Dept. of agriculture we began renovating another farm shed to use as a wash house to wash earthy veg coming in from the field and keep it away from the washed clean veg and imported fruit. We began employing an administrative and accounts assistant.
• 2011: We harvested over 30 tons of potatoes this year in a partnership with another farmer in Kilconnell, Ballinasloe, continued to sell to more shops and grew 17 acres of veg. In the summer we started selling mixed pallets of veg using transport companies to bring them to Cork, Dublin, Wicklow and Kerry. We finished up selling in three markets and focused on Loughrea and Oranmore market alone. We purchased a root crop washer for washing carrots potatoes, turnip and other roots coming in from the fields. We employed an new delivery driver, veg packing supervisor. We got help from a crop planning advisor John Hogan this year.
• 2012: We continued expanding with the purchase of a leek washer. We began to build an office above the new veg washouse.
Beechlawn Organic Farm featured on Galway Matters this week!
"We started growing commercially in 2002, gradually building up the business since then.
Beechlawn Organic Farm is a business partnership that was conceived and has been developed by husband and wife, Padraig Fahy and Úna Ní Bhroin.
The seeds were first sown after Padraig and Úna met at The Organic College, Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick, and both qualified with Diplomas in Organic Horticulture.
The business germinated in 2001 when they began the garden, which they nurtured producing their first fruits in 2002.
Following from the “Ballinasloe Town Benchmarking Report” published earlier this year, the town team are hosting a Business Networking Barbeque in Maud Millars on Friday 10th July from 6.00-7.30pm . The cost will be €10 per person which includes food and either a pint of beer or a glass of wine.
The main purpose of the event is to bring the businesses in the area together to generate ideas for inclusion in the Town Action Plan and to discuss promotion and cross-marketing of existing businesses in the area.
All businesses in the area are more than welcome to attend, so please feel free to forward to anyone you think may be interested. If you require any further information, contact Lyn in Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre.
Full details of the town benchmarking report are available here
Also if you have not already done so please submit your business details here for inclusion in the business directory for the area.
Look forward to seeing you then.
On behalf of the town team.
Jacinta Divilly, Val Colleran, Colm Croffy, Lyn Donnelly, Aidan Donoghue, Seamus Duffy, Tara Galvin, Paula Harley, Carmel Grealy, Kate Murray, Mike O’Brien, Pádraig Ó Ceithearnaigh& Ger Tully.
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