Tramore is hoping to maintain and even improve its success in the SuperValu Tidy Towns competition, the results of which will be announced shortly.
Each September, communities throughout Waterford wait with bated breath ahead of the announcement of the SuperValu Tidy Towns results.For five years in a row, Tramore has been awarded a well-earned bronze medal. Chairperson Anne Cheasty says all involved with the group would love to retain a bronze this year, but says they aspire to attaining a silver or perhaps even a gold in the near future.
Even retaining a bronze medal each year requires a mammoth effort from all involved.
The omens are good ahead of the announcement of this year’s results. Tramore has been increasing its marks year on year and the positive contribution which Tramore Tidy Towns is making to the town is clear for all to see at every turn.However, Anne says the group’s work has already started for next year – simply because “we can’t afford to stop”.
This year, murals created by artist Lisa Murphy have proven a hugely popular addition to The Prom. Photos of the impressive work have been widely shared online, and subsequently viewed by people worldwide, since they were completed earlier this summer.
The creation of the murals is part of a wider ambition to brighten up Tramore through adding dashes of colour at various locations.
Anne says small things can make a big difference such as painting public benches to brighten them up. Effective signage is displayed in The Prom area informing people that there are 75 bins within the distance from The Sands Hotel to the toilets on the Lower Prom.
Many ambitious projects have already been undertaken and completed by Tramore Tidy Towns, including on the Doneraile and at the Steps near the entrance to Splashworld.
A project at the historic Railway Station is also being embarked upon.
Meanwhile, members of the Tramore Eco Group are set to embark on their eagerly awaited Banksy Project which will complement the efforts of Tramore Tidy Towns. Although they are separate groups, both Tramore Tidy Towns and Tramore Eco Group are working for the overall betterment of Tramore.Anne believes the Banksy Project will be a great addition to Tramore in the Tidy Towns competition and further add to the overall aim of creating bright spaces.
All hands on deck
On any given week, there are about ten volunteers out and about carrying out their duties as part of their Tidy Towns’ remit in Tramore. “We don’t know exactly when judging takes place which is good as it means we never slacken off,” explains Anne.
“However, it also means there’s a lot of pressure.”
Volunteers are the backbone of the Tidy Towns movement and the Tramore Tidy Towns group have dedicated and enthusiastic members.The group also has the assistance of some Community Employment (CE) and Tús Scheme workers but would love to have more volunteers on board as well.Even another 10 or 12 would provide a significant boost, according to Anne. Member Marion O’Mara points out that the group is also hugely supported by members of Tramore’s new communities – including some asylum seekers who now reside in Tramore. Encouragingly, there is also significant support from the student population.
Recently, when volunteers were weeding near Tramore Racecourse, Anne was approached by two teenagers who said they’d like to help.
They informed her that they had spare time as they had just completed their Leaving Certificate exams at Ardscoil na Mara and explained that they would like to be able to give something back. Students from the school also regularly team up with Tramore Tidy Towns as part of their activities under the Gaisce Award.Local community groups also get involved with activities, including the local taekwondo and camogie clubs, Scouts etc.
Whenever any group is carrying out a fundraising bag pack at Quish’s SuperValu, Anne doesn’t miss an opportunity! She asks that all such groups engage in a beach clean-up at some stage. This has proved very successful, and she cites a clean-up carried out by Tramore Camogie Club, in which 17 bags of marine litter were collected, as an example.
She says it’s important that the wider community can see exactly what members of Tramore Tidy Towns are doing so that the public will hopefully realise that things don’t “just happen” by themselves.
Anne, who is Manager of Quish’s SuperValu, has featured in a prominent TV advert for the SuperValu Tidy Towns competition in which Tramore was chosen as an example of a location where the Tidy Towns and SuperValu are having a positive impact. She describes the Tidy Towns competition as a “perfect fit” for SuperValu’s ethos as the supermarket regards itself as being at the heart of each community it serves. Again, Anne points out that Tramore being chosen for the TV campaign didn’t “just happen”. She says there was significant work involved in proving that the town was a suitable case study.
When it comes to Tidy Towns involvement, Tramore faces challenges which many other areas do not face. The large influx of people into the area, particularly during the summer months, is an obvious test of resources. However, both Anne and Marion say the beach is now generally left in a good condition compared to previous years – but work is always required to ensure that this remains the case.
A beach clean-up takes place every Sunday at 10am without fail. Many children participate in this event which epitomises pride of place and volunteerism. The ‘Take 3 for the Sea’ initiative was also launched on The Prom on Friday last by Mayor of Waterford City and County Council Councillor John Pratt. ‘Take 3 for the Sea’ is a simple idea: it asks everyone to take action against coastal litter by bringing three pieces of litter with us from the beach, stream or countryside and put them in a litter bin or take it home to our own bin. It also highlights the fact that all litter can eventually make its way to the sea, so any small action that we take can make a difference.
Speaking at the launch in Tramore, Mayor Pratt said: “I am delighted to launch this campaign to tackle litter along our coast. We are lucky in Waterford to have a variety of beautiful beaches and coastline. There are a number of groups and individuals who already regularly collect litter from the coastline of our county, from Cheekpoint in the east to Whiting Bay in the west. We enjoy our beaches all year round, not just in the summer and it’s important to care for it year-round too.”‘Take 3 for the Sea’ plaques will be erected at all Blue Flag and Green Coast beaches across County Waterford in Irish or English.
Nowadays, it’s clear that Tidy Towns doesn’t simply involve planting pretty flowers or picking up litter.The judging criteria dictates that groups must also be conscious of environmental issues such as biodiversity and sustainability.As part of their biodiversity activities, a picnic area by Applegreen has been totally reinvented by Tramore Tidy Towns.
“We wanted the wow factor while also meeting our biodiversity requirements,” explained Anne.
There is now plenty of colour and significant planting to encourage more biodiversity.
Overall, Tramore’s catchment area as part of the Tidy Towns competition is certainly expansive. On any given day members will go wherever the need is deemed to be greatest.
“Tramore is such a big area and there is a relatively small number of us,” says Marion.
“Sometimes it feels like we’re firefighting.”“We can’t stop as things will get out of hand,” adds Anne.“There’s always room for improvement.”
Tramore Tidy Towns is grateful for the support of the wider community, including the business community.Specific businesses are often mentioned in the Tidy Towns adjudication reports so it’s essential that businesses ensure their premises are kept in pristine condition.
A lick of paint on a building, or simple measures such as the addition of hanging baskets, can have a significant overall impact. The group has been well supported through various fundraisers, including by sales of their eye-catching calendar.
Although they have made many significant strides, Tramore Tidy Towns’ members are keen to push on and set the bar even higher.With so much enthusiasm and dedication, manpower is the only issue which stands in their way. “There’s only a certain amount that people can do in the hours of the week at their disposal,” says Anne. She extols the benefits of being involved with Tidy Towns and the sense of community which it creates.“If you get involved, you get hooked and you start to notice what can be done – you notice the rubbish, you notice the weeds,” she explains.
The impact which members of Tramore Tidy Towns are making has been recognised by the wider community, including when Anne was given the honour of being Grand Marshal in the town’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. With a huge list of accomplishments already notched up, and with the enthusiasm and dedication of the likes of Anne Cheasty, all involved with Tramore Tidy Towns are sure to enjoy further success.
For more information, visit the Tramore Tidy Towns Facebook page, email email@example.com or call Anne at SuperValu on 051- 386036.