In October 2011 RTE broadcast a new TV series ‘Local Heroes – A Town Fights Back’ which showed the citizens of Drogheda coming together to jump-start their local economy and create jobs.
In Limerick a group of people, most of whom had never met, were watching the programme. It literally started with a tweet. ‘Why not try the same in Limerick’, they pondered. An initial meeting was arranged on the University of Limerick campus attended by ten enthusiastic people. A Limerick Local Heroes steering group was formed there and then.
A number of steps needed to be taken to ensure the initial success of the Limerick Local Heroes concept. Teams were put in place covering areas such as networking, event co-ordination, social media and PR. Weekly meetings were facilitated at the Absolute Hotel in Limerick. More people joined the campaign and soon we had a team of over 40 volunteers all working together to develop an initiative focused on one key goal – Limerick and its future.
At the end of January 2012 a public meeting was held in The Strand Hotel which was attended by over 400 people. This was an open forum which allowed the people of the city to voice their opinions and have their ideas for their city heard. The event was filmed by Animo TV productions and facilitated by presenter, actor and producer Aonghus McAnally.
The meeting called on Limerick people from all walks of life in order to create new and sustainable jobs for the people of Limerick. Tony Frawley, Chair of the steering committee, described Local Heroes as ‘an initiative for the people of Limerick driven by the people of Limerick and its success will ultimately be measured by the participation of Limerick citizens’.
Mark Quinn (Everest climber), John Loftus (participant in World Transplant Games), Noel Toolan (brand consultant) and Padraig Kierans from Drogheda Local Heroes all gave their passionate views on the possibilities for Local Heroes going forward.
THOMOND PARK IDEAS SUMMIT
Shortly after this meeting another public meeting was held in Thomond Park. The aim was to commence the development of a long term vision for the city through idea sharing. This meeting allowed participants to develop ideas further whilst also affording the attendees the opportunity to put forward more suggestionns. The aim of this summit was to establish a list of actionable ideas and to offerthe people of Limerick a banner to work under, that banner being Limerick Local Heroes.
Over 300 people joined the Ideas Summit on Monday. Orlaith Carmody was the event’s main facilitator, while 30 other facilitators coordinated by Tracy Aspel took the responsibility of facilitating the discussions at each table and communicating the ideas that came out of the discussion further.
Limerick’s strong links throughout the world were emphasised during the brainstorming session with ideas such as the ‘Little Apple’ begin talked through and other ideas featuring the possibility of an official ‘Georgian City triangle’ along with Bath and Edinburgh, and hosting regular showcases for visiting rugby playing cities such as Treviso and Cardiff were discussed.
The next step in the Limerick Local Heroes process was to put together working action groups for a number of core ideas that they believe are actionable and achievable within the coming months.
Four individual pillars or action groups – tourism, retail, community and 3 e’s (enterprise, employment and education) – identified. An individual project manager for each of these four groups has been appointed and many of the ideas are now being actioned and worked on. To read more about our four pillars click here