Development Company Reviews 21st Year Of Progress
The Board of Voluntary Directors, led by Chairman Seamus Duffy and Manager Lyn Donnelly and members of the company reviewed progress on their 21st year of activities by way of ZOOM last month.
Opening the meeting the Chair reminded those in attendance of the formation of BACD and it’s rationale again in encouraging job creation, enterprise and attracting investment and he thanked Manager Lyn, his co directors, and the different members of the working groups for their commitment, dedication and efforts to delivering a can do message in one of the most challenging of years in the Charitable Company’s short history.
In a wide ranging address Seamus reviewed some key issues as he saw them for the town, the community and agencies that are currently operating here.
He praised and thanked the longstanding funders – GRD Leader, the Dept of Business and Enterprise, The Dept of Rural and Community Affairs, Galway County Council and the new very welcome funder – the Just Transition Fund.
He also expressed huge thanks to the resilient business community who despite the big dig disruption and pandemic shut downs ; showed their support for the community efforts with their LIFE Magazine Advertising and their huge support for the New Xmas Lights Campaign.
“Tonight I also want to commend the work and generosity of one of founding partners – the Credit Union who since day one have been very supportive of all of our project needs and this year sponsored a significant sum towards the cost of the illuminations”.
Seamus detailed the nearly €60 million of current and anticipated State spending due into our community across some 6 Government Departments that he and the Board strongly believes needs a better degree of co – ordination or oversight to get maximum return for the tax payer funding but also for our town.
He explained that the Company had made a detailed submission to the new draft County Plan and in their own 10 year plan for the town would be seeking that an Interagency Task Force or Co – ordinating Group be charged with the monitoring of projects and delivery of elements of the spend and schemes that ought to be complimentary to each other.
“ We have a number of project groups examining short, medium and longterm objectives across three pillars and we will collate priority actions into a simple final plan to be launched we hope with agency and Government buy-in from September”, stated Seamus.
Manager Lyn Donnelly gave a very detailed presentation on the key elements that the Company worked on in the year under review. Her first point was between all the different project groups, there are now almost 200 volunteers giving significant hours towards the work of the company – “whether it is driving and delivering Magazines, preparing the Sustainable Town Applications or erecting and fundraising for the Xmas Lights – it’s hugely positive to working among so many positive community people” states Lyn.
The Enterprise Centre managed to remain at practical maximum occupancy for all of the year – with some 29 firms operating out of the old hospital building employing in total some 190 people.
The Pulse Club has remained active and is a key peer network for the younger entrepreneurs in the locality – using the lockdown for zoom seminar and sessions. Ballinasloe GROW REMOTE Club co – ordinated by Renate Kohlmann, saw a spike in numbers working remotely from home and lot of the research and support work they have done provided the underpinning of the Bank Chambers project.
The Ballinasloe Life Magazine continued to be published even in the height of the lockdown and did not charge the advertisers for the two editions involved . They increased the print run to 7000 copies per editions which means that 42,0000 magazines are printed and distributed annually. It achieved it’s milestone decade of publishing and looking back managed to retain over €500,000 of marketing and advertising spend locally. She thanked the Editorial and delivery team and advised the meeting that the viability and investing in the online look of the Magazine platform would have to prioritised over the coming months .She also warmly thanked Sinead Colleran our Website Co – Ordinator for the work she continues to undertake on Ballinasloe.ie.
She paid tribute the people on the Town Team under the stewardship of Anita Killeen who have ongoing projects like te Town Enhancement , the Sustainable Energy Town, The Business Networking Comedy Garden and of course the outstanding Christmas Lights Campaign – which gave everyone in the town a huge morale lift.
The Shop Local Online and Voucher Scheme launched in the summer of the Pandemic was a huge success and contributed in so many small outlets getting a trading bounce from the Xmas Retail season – with many local firms using them as Staff gifts.
She detailed the current funded projects in some detail and the route map for the company to keep all in motion to draw down maximum grant aid.
Auditor James Coyle of Coyle and Co gave a detailed audit presentation of the financial results showing certified income at €259,460 and Expenditure at €228,226 .Coyle and Co. were re- appointed Auditors.
The Chair and Manager detailed the priority actions for the current year ahead – Bank Chambers , Society St., Maintaining strong occupancy for the BEC, Finalising the delivery of the Shopfront Scheme, Finalising and Launching the 10 year Plan, Commissioning the Tourism and Heritage Feasibility Study, Establishing the Task Force, Resourcing the Town Team and it’s projects , Xmas Illuminations 2021 and attracting new investors to the locality.
The Directors for the next 12 months are Seamus Kelly (Credit Union), Dan Dowling (Creagh Community Development Council), Micheal Connolly (Galway County Council), Seamus Duffy (Membership), Valerie Dolan (Membership), Anita Killeen (Membership), Joe Lyons (Membership), Kevin Broderick (Membership), Pearse Keller (Membership), Marina Downey (Membership), Noel Madden (Co-opted), John McKenna (Co-opted), Brian King (Co-opted) Eoghan Kenny (Co-opted)
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