What is a Social Enterprise??

What is a Social Enterprise??

Although there are many definitions, the bottom line is…A social enterprise is an enterprise [or business] whose objective is to achieve a social, societal or environmental impact, rather that maximising profits for its owners or stakeholders.  

Social enterprises in Clare work in many sectors: Improving the environment, strengthening community supports, supporting employment opportunities locally and regionally and working for the overall betterment of society.

CLDC, over the past 30 years, has supported the establishment and development of Social Enterprises across a range of sectors including tourism, community services, childcare organisations, and climate action.

In January 2023, CLDC launched the Clare Social Enterprise Network.  The primary aim of the network is to give Social Enterprises in Clare a platform to interact with other like-minded people, to ask questions, share ideas, experiences & learnings, and to identify opportunities for working together and for wider collaboration.

We had a range of events throughout 2023 to offer networking opportunities and soft support in the common issues facing Social Enterprises, including:

  • Fundraising / revenue generation.
  • Business planning
  • Strategy Planning and Sustainability
  • Communication and Marketing
  • Legal & HR – recruitment & management

Social Enterprise Training Programme

Right now, in our Social Enterprise Network, we are really excited to have Evelyn Cormican delivering a bespoke training programme to assist Social Enterprises with day-to-day operations and future planning. The training is being delivered through a combination of in person and online training and small group mentoring sessions. The overall aim of the training is to provide support and direction to social enterprises to take their business to the next level.

On completion of the training programme participants will be given an opportunity to take part in a showcase event (Spring 2024) with local businesses and corporates. This event is an opportunity for social enterprises to pitch their businesses to companies that have a corporate social responsibility policy.

If you are a social enterprise or thinking of becoming a social enterprise and you are not on our database, we would love to hear from you!

Please email Aisling [adeklerk@cldc.ie] for further information and to be part of our dynamic network.

Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) Social Enterprise Impact Award

ILDN have launched their Social Enterprise IMPACT award, which is a competition focused on impact and impact measurement. The Awards will have three categories – medium/large social enterprise, small social enterprise, and ‘young’ social enterprise – with winners in each category receiving an award of €10,000, and runners up receiving €5,000. The prize money can be used towards any costs associated with running the social enterprise. For further information and a copy of the application form click here.

Closing date Sunday 10th December 2023.

CLDC Circular Economy Project Repurposing Windfarm Blades Wins International “Best New Initiative” Award

CLDC Circular Economy Project Repurposing Windfarm Blades Wins International “Best New Initiative” Award

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) announced on Friday that the Irish pilot project “Repurposing Windfarm Blades,” by Clare Local Development Company, has been named as the Best New Initiative (BNI), in the prestigious UIAA 2023 Mountain Protection Award (MPA). The Clare initiative plans to turn old wind turbine blades into walking trail infrastructure, aiming to reduce the impact of wind farming on the environment, while modelling Circular Economy and helping raise awareness around reusing materials on a larger scale.

Windfarms in Ireland are generally situated in the upland areas, and this project will take redundant turbine blades and repurpose them into walking trail infrastructure like bridges and stiles, in this environment. This is the first project to use existing upland infrastructure to create trail infrastructure for the benefit of trail users. Currently, trail infrastructure is sourced from generic suppliers, mostly international companies involving large transport costs and environmental damage. This project keeps all the elements as local as possible, using local windfarms, local facilities, local trails, and local contractors wherever possible. Upgraded walking trails around Clare will showcase an innovative approach to the circular economy, and the project hopes to raise awareness and start conversations about repurposing waste materials.

The project was initiated by Clare Local Development Company (CLDC,) supported by Bladebridge from Universiy College Cork, and endorsed by Mountaineering Ireland. The first phase of the project is to repurpose the wind turbine blades that have reached end of life on wind farms into pedestrian bridges, stiles and seating on walking trails on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Path. This is the busiest walking trail in Ireland with an excess of 600k users annually. A side project will be initiated to develop stiles and seating from repurposed blades.

Repurposing of this material is higher on the waste hierarchy than recycling, and higher than the conventional disposal methods of landfilling or incineration, or co-processing of the material into cement. The goals of the project are to firstly trial the repurposing of turbines into trail infrastructure on walking trails in County Clare, and then once installed and tested roll out the project via the Rural Recreation Officer network to other trails in Ireland; and finally promote the concept via international trail programmes.

“Provided the pilot phase of the project is successful, it will have a hugely positive environmental as well as social impact through education, awareness raising about circular economy, sustainable resource management and disposal. The way the project taps into local landowners, hiking, walking, guiding groups, people who make their living on the land that the trail it is targeting goes through, really speaks to a strong land ethic – something that mountain and upland cultures around the world share,” said the UIAA Assessment Team.

Eoin Hogan, the Rural Recreation Officer for CLDC who has headed this project, spoke with UIAA. “These new bridges will allow more walkers to enjoy the beautiful Cliffs of Moher trail in Co. Clare while respecting the local environment and keeping used blade materials out of landfills,” Eoin said. “We hope that the award will highlight this project as an example of how to change perceptions of ‘waste’ and to imagine new opportunities to improve the environment by repurposing used materials. For us, this project will be a success if people use the bridges, appreciate the design and the materials, talk about them, and see the benefit of repurposing materials to create new infrastructure and products.”

A total of 12 international projects operational on four continents were showcased as part of 2023 UIAA MPA.
Summer camps support nearly 140 children from refugee families and Direct Provision

Summer camps support nearly 140 children from refugee families and Direct Provision

Clare Local Development Company was delighted to host 5 summer camp programs in Clare this year.

These camps focused on improving children’s English through a variety of activities, making new friends, staying active and having loads of fun.

Each camp we got to meet different children living in the area by hosting camps in Ennis, Kilkee, Shannon, Lisdoonvarna and Ballyvaughan. Activities including sports, drama, games, dance, outdoor activities, arts & crafts and loads more. Even a visit from the Ice cream van in all venues.

We would like to thank all the children who took part, and a special thanks so all at CLDC that made these camps happen. Thanks to each venue for allowing us to bring the camps to those areas, and to the camp leaders for making sure these children had a fun filled experience.

We look forward to hopefully seeing you again soon!

CLDC Staff give moving interview on ClareFM

CLDC Staff give moving interview on ClareFM

Alina Senkova, Ukrainian Response Team

“When you think that life is over, in this moment you find people who will show you that NO, you are ALIVE, you must live. You must start. You must live your life.”

We are very proud of our staff who spoke on ClareFM this morning! Have a listen here (11min) to hear about our Ukraine Response programme, the beauty and challenges of Ukrainian life and culture and Irish integration, and how Clare is leading the way with events like this festival coming up AUGUST 18-20!!

“We would love to show our culture to the Irish people who have been so good to us.”

We especially loved hearing about the film, made by and about Irish and Ukrainian Teenagers, about this moment that is so important, with the challenges faced and the friendships that have formed.

CLARE FM INTERVIEW HERE

Refugee Week Fun Run builds solidarity, friendship and respect

Refugee Week Fun Run builds solidarity, friendship and respect

Sanctuary Runners came together to run in solidarity at Lee’s Road last Sunday for the very first Refugee Week Fun Run-Midwest. With over 70 attendees of all ages and abilities from across Clare, the midwest, and the world, it was a gathering of warmth, welcomes and respect.

The event, organised by Sanctuary Runners with the collaboration and support of the SICAP program within Clare Local Development Company, Clare Immigrant Support Centre, Clare Sports Partnership, Clare Volunteer Centre and attended by An Garda Siochana, brought people from all corners of the county to run/ walk/ jog as one. All new runners/ walkers/ joggers received one of the iconic Sanctuary Runners blue t-shirts and completed up to 5km through the beautiful surrounds of John O’Sullivan Park.

Following their endeavours, attendees gathered for tea, chats and refreshments, with goodie bags for all the children. Everyone received a Certificate of Participation to mark their part in this special first for the area.

Graham Clifford, founder and CEO of Sanctuary Runners spoke to all attendees in advance of the run: “The reason for Sanctuary Runners is to bring people together, wherever they are from, to run as one, united in our blue t shirts, sharing this experience. It is particularly special to be in Clare to mark this event and enjoy the warmth of the atmosphere created by our volunteers and everyone who has come together here today.”

With the rain staying away on the day, people basked not just in the sunshine at Lee’s Road, but also in the warmth of new connections and friendships, feeling connected to a bigger community, feeling part of a bigger movement and feeling seen and recognised for their worth and contribution.

Sanctuary Runners have recently appointed Jennifer O’Brien as the Regional Development Officer for the Midwest. With a dedicated staff member in the area Sanctuary Runners plan to continue their positive relationships, with supports and services in Clare and across the midwest to further community integration and continue sharing the values of solidarity, friendship and respect.

Sanctuary Runners Ennis meet regularly at the Fairgreen/ Tim Smyth Park. Anyone interested in joining Sanctuary Runners can email clare@sanctuaryrunners.ie

Find out more about Sanctuary Runners at https://sanctuaryrunners.ie/