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Lann Elo - Tihilly, Tullamore in IPB Pride of Place Awards

27th July 2017

HE Lann Elo – Tihilly housing scheme Tullamore was in a celebratory mood on Wednesday 12th July, as the judges for the All of Ireland Community Awards Competition, Pride of Place, visited the area and spoke with residents, volunteers, supporters and staff.

The housing associations that operate the complex, Midlands Simon, Tullamore Housing Association and Rights for the Elderly VHA were very excited and deeply honoured to be nominated by Offaly County Council for this very prestigious award. The whole place looked resplendent in the morning sunshine, with many colourful flowers, buntings and balloons on display. The residents, volunteers and staff, supported by Offaly County Council, had been very busy preparing the scheme over the past few weeks, in anticipation of the judgment day, and were rightly proud of their work.

The judges, Terry O’Niadh and Eddie Sheehy were accompanied to the site by Maurice Inglis of Co-operation Ireland and Seán Murray, Director of Services of Offaly County Council. They were greeted by Jim Buckley (Tullamore Housing Association) and Jim Quinn (Rights for the Elderly VHA) and escorted to the wonderful Darmagh Centre where they were welcomed by the music of Rosemary Scally and the large enthusiastic crowd of residents, volunteers, supporters and staff.

Local artist, Enrique Cullen was at her easel putting the finishing touches to her latest creation, Marguerite was displaying the virtues of chiropody and the residents had a beautiful display of their own arts and crafts.

John Burke (Tullamore Housing Association), Ruth Keane (Midland Simon) and Molly Buckley (Rights for the Elderly VHA) then gave a presentation explaining the origins and operations of each organisation and how they work together to provide suitable housing for various groups such as the elderly, homeless and those in need of emergency and transitional housing. They also outlined the various supports that are available to the residents.

A very interesting feature of the presentation was the derelict nature of the site before any building took place and the impressive transformation into the beautiful housing scheme and thriving community that is there now.

They thanked the many volunteers and supporters who contributed to the scheme through various fundraising activities down through the years. The people of Tullamore and surrounding areas helped greatly and the scheme would not have been built without their support.

They also thanked Offaly County Council, the former Tullamore Town Council, The Dept. of Heritage and Local Government, The Health Service Executive, Sustainable Energy Ireland, People In Need, Tullamore Lions Club, Tullamore Credit Union, The Community Foundation for Ireland, Tullamore Parish, Tullamore Wider Options, Tullamore Rotary Club, The Mercy Order, Tullamore Parish Choirs, The Celtic Tenors and Deirdre Shannon, Tullamore Gardai, who together with many others, helped to bring the scheme to the shining success it is today.

Ann Tobin, chairperson of Tihilly Residents Association said the scheme was absolutely beautiful and a great place to live and thanked everyone involved in providing it. She said today was a great day for everybody. Architect Peter Lyons of Kenny Lyons and Associates, said it was a shining example of co-operation and communications between organisations and communities.

Seán Murray of Offaly County Council said he was delighted that the Council was associated with the scheme and he looked forward to continuing to work with the housing associations in the future.

Ruth Keane (Midlands Simon) and Jim Buckley (Tullamore Housing Association) then led the judges on a tour of the Lann Elo side of the scheme, and Jim Quinn (Rights for the Elderly VHA escorted them through the Tihilly side. The judges saw at first hand the wonderful accommodation and supports. They spoke with more residents and admired the beautiful gardens and landscaping. Gerry Walsh of Energy Superstore and Sam McMorris explained the impressive and efficient geo-thermal heatpump system and underfloor heating to them.

The judges were presented with specially inscribed copies of Veronica Nicholson’s beautiful photographic book “Observing Offaly”, which was commissioned by Offaly County Council, as a memento of their visit.

The wonderful catering was provided by The Community Workshop, Kilcruttin, Tullamore and singer Dermot Buckley had everyone clapping and singing before the judges completed their deliberations.

Midlands Simon, Tullamore Housing and Rights for the Elderly VHA were delighted with the day. They are eagerly awaiting the results on the final awards night in December, but as the judges said, “just being nominated is considered a win”.

There were certainly winners all round in Lann Elo – Tihilly on the 12th.

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