Plans to develop the 2,600 sq. metre ‘Shannon Venue’, a not-for-profit initiative by the community of Shannon, for the community of Shannon and the wider district, has received a boost with the awarding of funding under the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA), Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative, through Clare County Council.
The aim of this pilot project is to develop a range of local business and community initiatives to support the local community, business and the creative/arts sectors in the greater Shannon area. The project is being developed by the Venue Shannon in collaboration with Clare County Council and Shannon Chamber, facilitated by eTownz.
The funding has enabled the Venue Shannon to develop and deliver a series of 10 FREE workshops under a variety of themes; a range of minor projects to promote community involvement in the Venue Shannon; and a community website to showcase the community and support all the great initiatives taking place in the area. An end-of-programme showcase finale is also being organised.
The new website www.shannonvenue.com has been developed and launched and the workshops are being held weekly in SkyCourt Shopping Centre in Shannon. Full details of the workshops are posted on the Shannon Venue website www.shannonvenue.com/workshops and on www.shannonchamber.ie/events-training. Bookings for the workshops can be made via either site with people of all ages and from across the wider community of Shannon Town, Bunratty, Cratloe, Newmarket-on-Fergus, and Sixmilebridge encouraged to attend and participate, most particularly representatives from the various community groups across the area.
As the Shannon Venue promoter Derek Barrett explains: “We would love to see as many people as possible from across the community getting involved in the workshops, contributing information to the new website and participating in this community development programme. The workshops are all free and cover a range of themes – entrepreneurship and arts, developing a community arts network, local heritage, community planning and how to make and tell great stories on a smartphone.
“Training is only one element of the project. The community arts programme will showcase local projects and talent in the arts and creative sectors while also developing opportunities for those who wish to work or develop supplementary income in the sector. Its focus is on building relationships among various arts groups and broader community stakeholders; showcasing local arts through the community website; helping to co-ordinate a showcase finale by the local creative sector at the end of the project and; building a vibrant local creative and arts sector for the benefit of many across the community.
“The community development programme aims to bring everyone who contributes to our community together to develop a common plan and make this happen; that’s why we need representatives from across the community to attend the training workshops.
“The workshops will continue weekly through to the end of March and will take place in SkyCourt Shopping Centre,“ added Mr Barrett.
Clare County Council submitted the proposal to the REDZ programme following the decision the Council to designate Shannon as one of Clare’s pilot areas under the programme and with the assistance of information provided by The Venue team. “This focus on highlighting the strong history and wide ranging level of creative activity in Shannon is welcome and bodes well for the future growth and realisation of all forms of artistic, civic and community life in Shannon. It is really encouraging to see such active community leadership and engagement towards the creative sector and this is exactly in line with Clare Arts Development Plan,” said Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer.
Shannon Chamber is assisting in the co-ordination of the workshops. Chief executive Helen Downes said: “In line with the promoters of the Shannon Venue we want to make Shannon a better place in which to live, work and do business. The Shannon Venue will be a major addition to the cultural offerings of the town and this project is an interim step and an ideal way to bring the community and creative sectors together to create the required synergies in advance of the Shannon Venue coming on stream.”