Tidy Towns committees throughout Clare will be busy over the coming months improving their locality following the return of the national annual competition.
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced the return of the SuperValu TidyTowns Competition.
The iconic competition was cancelled in 2020 – for the first time in over 60 years – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, special arrangements have now been put in place to ensure the return of the competition this year, with the overall winners due to be announced before the end of the year.
This competition will take place in the same format as previous years, albeit with a specific emphasis on electronic entry and remote adjudication of each town’s entry.
Groups should continue to adhere to public health guidelines as they have done so remarkably well since the onset of the pandemic.
The health and safety of volunteers continues to be paramount.
It is acknowledged that volunteers have not been able to deliver on all of the plans that they may have had for their towns, and the competition adjudicators will be mindful of this fact when assessing entries.
Many groups have still been very active and the standard of competition is expected to be high again this year among the groups around the county.
Minister Humphreys has introduced a new award category aimed at groups that have continued to serve and look after their communities despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
She has also brought in a special prize for young people, which was committed to under Our Rural Future – the Government’s ambitious new strategy for Rural Ireland.
Minister Humphreys announced a €1 million fund in December to further support the TidyTowns groups across the country.
Today, the Minister confirmed that over 800 Tidy Towns groups have now been awarded grants of up to €1,000 under this fund.
Speaking in Glaslough, Minister Humphreys said missing out on the competition last year was very disappointing for everyone associated with TidyTowns.
“That’s why I am delighted to announce that this iconic competition is back.
“I am sure the thousands of volunteers around the country are relieved that we have finally reached the point where we can launch the 2021 SuperValu TidyTowns competition and are excited for the months ahead.
“While the last year has been so challenging for everyone, I know that so many TidyTowns volunteers the length and breadth of the country have continued to look after their communities.
“Many groups have been unable to deliver on the projects they had planned due to Covid-19.
“That will not impact in any shape or form on this year’s competition and I am encouraging each and every one of the 987 registered groups across the country to enter once again.”