PPN Urges the Public and the Community Sector to Review Important Strategies

Monaghan Public Participation Network has today put out a call to the general public, and to the community & voluntary sector to alert them to a number of important documents which are currently out to public consultation.

The documents in question have the power to influence where funding goes in the county, and what it gets spent on. Funding will be prioritised to issues and areas which are identified in the Strategies, and people and projects in areas not prioritised may find it much more difficult to access funding in the very near future.

Documents currently out to public consultation include the first stage of the Local Community Development Committee’s Local Community Plan. The LCDC is the body through which all government, and much EU funding is to be channelled. Funds coming through the LCDC since 2015 include the SICAP programme which provides Monaghan Integrated Development with the bulk of its funding, and the new LEADER programme, which will have €7.6 million to allocate to projects in Co Monaghan over the next five years.

What gets prioritised in these programmes will very much depend on what is identified as a priority in the LCDC’s Plan, so ignore it at your peril!

Also out for consultation is the Joint Policing Committee’s draft Strategic Plan, which identifies three priority areas which it will concentrate on over the next five years. Issues covered in the Plan include combating the fear of crime, promoting road safety and extending Community Alert to cover the whole county. The JPC is asking the community to tell it if the right things are being prioritised. Again, projects will be developed around the identified priorities, and funding will be allocated to them. As there is not an endless supply of funding, it is inevitable that some issues will be left out. Now is the time to ensure that the issues closest to your heart don’t become sidelined.

The PPN is also asking the public to review the Key Actions in the County Council’s Tourism Strategy, and to ensure that the right projects are being put forward for development. Projects included in the draft Strategy include extending the Ulster Canal Greenway, upgrading facilities at Lough Muckno and extending the trails out on Sliabh Beagh. A focus on heritage tourism is also promoted. Many community festivals and tourism amenities rely on County Council support to continue. But if your facility/ event isn’t listed in the Tourism Strategy, it will not be a priority for support going forward.

The message is clear: if you run a project, or are thinking of developing one in the next few years, you need to know what changes are being made to the supports which are available to you. Now is the time to ensure your project is covered in the new strategic documents; failure to have a look and have your say at this draft stage may lead to a very nasty surprise in twelve months’ time when you go looking for funding…..

The PPN is organising a Summer Event in Corcaghan Community Centre on Tuesday 16th June at 8pm. The event is an opportunity for the public and community groups to learn about the many changes at strategic level and have their say on the key documents outlined above.

There will also be a presentation on the new LEADER programme, and how it is to be rolled out in Co. Monaghan. This will be of interest to community groups, but also to individuals thinking of developing a business idea, as the LEADER programme provides support to rural diversification projects.

Monaghan Public Participation Network is a relatively new organisation, having been established following last year’s Local Elections. Its purpose is to enable the public and community sector to link into the decision-making bodies in the county. In addition to running consultation events such as the Summer Event in Corcaghan, the PPN sources community reps to serve on a wide range of decision-making bodies, including the Council’s four Strategic Policy Committees, the Joint Policing Committee and the LCDC, a body which was also established in 2014.

The PPN is currently seeking community reps to serve on the board of Monaghan Integrated Development. MID runs a variety of programmes which aim to support the most vulnerable people in Co. Monaghan, including the unemployed, older people, people with a disability and young people not in education or training.

If you are interested in serving as a community rep, you can download the nomination form here, or by phoning Monaghan County Council’s Community Department, where someone will be happy to assist you. The closing date for nominations has been extended to Friday 12th June.

The PPN’s Summer Event in Corcaghan on Tuesday 16th June promises to be a very informative and rewarding night. Allen McAdam, former manager of the Cavan Monaghan LEADER programme, will be present to guide the meeting through the main strategic decisions facing the community sector. At the end of the evening, there will be a draw for two prizes of €250 for PPN member groups which are present on the night.

All community and voluntary groups are encouraged to register with the PPN. Membership is free, and open to all groups with an address in Co. Monaghan. All types of group are eligible for membership, including sports clubs, residents associations, women’s groups and youth clubs. Being a member of the PPN is a good way of keeping in touch with what is happening out there in Funding Land, as the PPN issues a fortnightly newsletter to its members. It is also increasingly becoming a prerequisite for receiving funding, particularly from Monaghan County Council.   Groups can register on the night, or online at www.ppnmonaghan.ie

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