Building Community
When you move into a new home and meet your neighbours, it is nice to create a shared identity within the community that you are living. This can be achieved in several different ways and through varying timelines. Examples both man-made and natural are benches, signposts, greening the area or a natural path emerging while walking on a specific part of a landscape (often referred to as a desire path, well-trodden path, or a beaten track). All of these examples are possible ways to create a sense of identity within a community, but the best examples are the ones where a community finds their own unique sense of identity. Below are some really great examples coming from Clann schemes.

Letterfrack, Connemara
The Clann community in Letterfrack, Connemara has been working in collaboration with Atlantic Technological University and the Rural Development Forum to create an inviting and comfortable space for the residents. This collaboration has brought about the development of a bench.

A student in ATU, Alice Baxter, has designed and created the bench. The inspiration for the bench is based on the Connemara landscape. The bench will be made from native Irish hard woods, which will ensure that it is long lasting and will become part of the natural environment.

We will be unveiling it on the scheme during the summer and look forward to future collaborations with A.T.U.

Taobh Linn Sign
The community of Taobh Linn have plenty of opportunities to connect with the other residents in the purpose-built scheme consisting of 38 apartments and a day centre. Examples of activities that have taken in place in the past are walking groups, tea/ coffee mornings, birthday celebrations and art/ crafts sessions. This story takes place seven years ago when the residents of Taobh Linn collaborated with a nearby arts studio. The artist and the residents wanted to create something that was unique, something that everyone could do (no matter the artistic ability). The purpose of the project was to bring the community to life and for the residents to bring their individual flare and personality to the community. The outcome of the project was a mosaic sign of the scheme name.

The mosaic sign was put in pride of place in Toabh Linn, but this is not where the story ends!! In 2022, Storm Eunice blew a gale across the island of Ireland. Eunice was one of the worst storms in 2022 and the sign was damaged. After some repair works and the help of a local volunteer who made a new metal frame for the sign, it is back up again.

Unfortunately, the ladies in the picture who helped to make the sign are no longer living in Taobh Linn, but the sign will be a remembrance of them and the pride they had living there.

The examples shown above bring to mind the quote below because, while we take the time to build community (either organically or organised), we also build a lasting connection with the community members living around us.

The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.
Dean Ornish

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