'Business Champions' is a new initiative recently established in Athlone.
The group's mission is to work together as a business community in order to make Athlone litter free and a more attractive town for everyone.
The 13 champions are local business people who have come together with the vision of making Athlone a cleaner and more appealing place to live, work and visit. The group will be working closely with Athlone Tidy Towns and Westmeath County Council.
“I love the idea of the whole town coming together in a joined-up thinking initiative between the council, tidy towns and the business community," commented Paul Cunningham, pharmacist and owner of Cunningham's Pharmacy.
"For me, the business champion initiative is an opportunity for businesses to give back to the community. They can do this by taking pride in their appearance and in the appearance of the street in which they operate. Athlone is a great town, but it is great to be involved in something that can make it even better."
Pat O’Toole, centre manager, Golden Island Shopping Centre, showed his support for this project: "I got involved because I believe it’s important to portray the best possible image of Athlone, and a strong community and local business involvement is essential. Businesses like Golden Island are well placed to get involved in initiatives like this in order to deliver improvements for the benefit of the whole community," he said.
During the initial planning, a map was drawn up and individual businesses took responsibility for areas close to their own locations. The majority of the streets will have a 'champion' responsible for monitoring them, but there are still areas unaccounted for.
Mayor Aengus O’Rourke said: “As business owners, and as stakeholders, we need to take more responsibility for, and be more involved in, the presentation of our town. Stakeholders must lead by example. This is a great new initiative for Athlone. It is a proven concept taken from other successful towns, and I am delighted to be playing my part in making this initiative work in Athlone."
Those interested in participating in this project are encouraged to contact a champion closest to their business location.