Dunmanway Community Garden is one of nine impactful and diverse Irish projects have been shortlisted for this year’s Europe-wide Innovation in Politics Awards. They are among 80 finalists selected by a European Jury of 1,053 citizens. Organised by the Innovation in Politics Institute based in Vienna, the Innovation in Politics Awards aim to recognise groundbreaking political initiatives across Europe at any level of governance that can act as an inspiration to others. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on 17 November 2018 in Vienna, Austria.
Over 600 projects from all over Europe were nominated in eight categories: Civilisation, Community, Democracy, Human Rights, Ecology, Jobs, Prosperity, and Quality of Life. The European Jury selected 10 finalists in each category.
Dunmanway Community Garden, a project funded by Cork County Council, has been nominated for the Community Category. Not having such a space, the Dunmanway community garden initiative leased a one-acre site from Cork County Council and began developing the space with the active involvement of local Councillor Declan Hurley. The project trained people in basic horticultural skills, construction skills and co-operative working. It was developed for the people of Dunmanway, across all age groups, from toddler to the elderly regardless of physical ability, mental well-being or nationality. The Community Garden has got support from Government agencies and hosts courses for adults such as literacy and numeracy through gardening, therapeutic gardening, mental health and well-being sessions, painting, ceramics, photography and woodcraft. The Garden has improved the community’s quality of life. It received further funding from Cork County Council and has engaged workers from an unemployment programme who take visitors on a tour of the garden or help new volunteers in getting involved. Dunmanway Community Garden is a success story due to the phenomenal input of the volunteers who established and maintain the garden to meet the needs of the community.
In their second year, the Innovation in Politics Awards were established in 2017 by the Innovation in Politics Institute based in Vienna, to give recognition to political work which improves the lives of all Europeans. Its mission is to improve politics in Europe by recognising and supporting initiatives at any level of governance and across the political spectrum that break new ground, are creative and achieve results. The Innovation in Politics Awards brings innovative work to the fore, showcasing it as an example of best practice for others
Edward Strasser, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovation in Politics Institute said: “With no less than nine Irish finalists selected by citizens across Europe, it is clear that the innovative approaches by Irish politicians stand out. Engagement with citizens, communities, and civil society as well as cross-party collaboration and support are key features of the projects.”