eTownz, in association with Meath Partnership, is providing free Smart Communities Training to villages and towns across Co. Meath.
Smart Communities are communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to improve their resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities. Ireland is recognised across the EU for its effectiveness in delivering the LEADER program, which is 30 years old this year. The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD), which oversees LEADER funding has determined that all future grant funding must align with the concepts of Smart Communities.
Meath Partnership, together with local development companies around Ireland, commissioned the creation of the Smart Communities Curriculum by eTownz, and eTownz is providing training in the curriculum on Meath Partnership’s behalf.
The curriculum consists of six, 90 minute modules which guide participants through the process of creating a Smart Village Plan, which is compiled using a workbook that is completed during the course. The Smart Communities Curriculum compiled by eTownz is a modular and pragmatic approach to local development where the town creates an interactive register for its local Assets, Stakeholders, Goals, Projects and Metrics.
Once the plan is prepared it is reviewed annually in an inclusive manner by all local stakeholders. Each record and goal is reviewed annually moving projects through their lifecycle using metrics and community feedback to update the plan.
The program also seeks to
- Promote greater collaboration between local organisations
- Develop symbiotic relationships between communities
- Encourage onboarding of new volunteers by building teams of people with similar interests and complementary skills
- Support community champions in handing over responsibility to the next generation
- Reducing, the administration workload
- Build a more fluid supporting relationship between communities, Local Development Companies and Councils
Meath Partnership will be identifying communities that wish to participate in the program and then seeking people from each community to participate in the interactive course. These participants will be the Smart Communities champions in their communities, trained in bringing various stakeholders together and coordinating the program annually.
eTownz, in association with Meath Partnership, is currently seeking expressions of interest from groups and individuals interested in taking part in Smart Communities training from across the county.
Training will be delivered online (via Zoom) and will run for 5 weeks. Each session will be approx. 60 minutes in duration.
Each course can accommodate approx. 12-16 individuals. If possible, particpants should be active in or represent the following sectors / areas:
- Health, Recreation & Quality of Life e.g. sporting organisations, local healthcare providers etc.
- Environment & Sustainability e.g. Tidy Towns, biodiversity groups, environmental interest groups etc.
- Business & Employment e.g. local employers, chambers of commerce, business representative groups etc.
- Infrastructure, Planning & Governance e.g. local community development organisations, residents groups etc.
Course modules include:
- Module 1 - Intorduction to Smart Communities Concepts
- Module 2 - Local Asset / Stakeholder Profiling & Plan Co-creation
- Module 3 - Goal Setting & Project Scheduling
- Module 4 - Communications, Co-creation, Collaboration & Volunteer Coordination
- Module 5 - Metrics, Data & Digital Tools
- Module 6 - Smart Communities Plan Sign Off & AGM