Aran island scoops gold for best community at LivCom awards in China

The island of Inis Oirr received international recognition this week when it scooped two major awards at the LivCom 2013 ceremony held in Xiamen in China.

Visitors and participants from around the world flocked to the annual international awards for Liveable Communites (LivCom ) on Monday to see which of the elite group of cities and communities would be announced as the winners.

A delegation from Inis Oirr, accompanied by the Mayor of County Galway Liam Carroll, attended the ceremony and collected the special overall award in the Healthy Lifestyles category and then took the overall award in the category for places with a populaton of up to 20,000 people.

The LivCom Awards which was launched internationally in 1997 and is endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme, is a major international competition which recognises best practise regarding the management of the local environment.

Almost 50 cities, districts, and communities, from around the world competed in the finals. Inis Oirr was one of four Irish and two Northern Irish communities to be selected. The island competed with Julianstown in Co Meath (silver award ) and Birdhill in Co Tipperary (silver award ) in the Category A awards for communities up to 20,000. Learmount Community Development Group in Co Derry was also a finalist.

LivCom head judge Rob Small presented what he described as the “delightful island community” of Inis Oirr with a further award for its best practise in promoting and sustaining healthy lifestyles. Congratulating Inis Oirr he said: “One of the challenges of isolated communities like Inis Oirr is to ensure that they stay connected to the world. But there is a pride generated in such communities which can also contribute to good healthy in itself. This community showed leading edge approaches across all LivCom criteria.”

Central to Iris Oirr’s submission was its arts centre, craft activities, stone-wall building and stone-sculpting workshops, as well as its commitment to the Irish language.

After three intensive days evaluating more than 60 finalists from around 30 countries Mr Small said standards being achieved by communities around the world were higher than ever.

The LivCom awards annually bring together some of the world’s leading innovators in the field. The finalists are divided into five categories according to their average daytime population. In addition there are winners in categories covering specific projects as well as a £10,000 bursary awarded to one communtity project each year. An eduction product in Pasig City in the Phillippines, ‘Environmental Security for Pre-Schools’ aimed at giving children in 43 schools weekly ‘greenheart days’, collected the bursary award.


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