It is a six-year plan that sets out the objectives and actions needed to promote the community and economic development of Cork city’s neighbourhoods and communities.
Local community development is a process of working with individuals, groups, and organisations in a local community to identify their needs and address issues and concerns. It works to meet those needs and solve issues by developing community infrastructure, facilities, programmes and services. Local community development can help to build a sense of community and promote civic engagement and social inclusion.
Local economic development is the promotion of economic growth and stability in a specific geographical area. This can be done through a variety of methods, including attracting and retaining new business, and creating jobs as well as supporting people to start their own businesses and social enterprises.
It is important for local communities to have a plan for their economic development and future. A plan gives Cork City Council, businesses, community and voluntary groups and local communities a roadmap to follow. It helps to ensure that everyone is working together towards the same goal. The plan should include strategies for promoting economic growth, creating jobs, making our neighbourhoods more resilient and sustainable and improving the quality of life for residents.
It is not a spatial plan, meaning, it does not plan for where new houses, offices, roads or other infrastructure is built and installed. It can however help to attract funding to develop community and economic infrastructure and facilities such as business support hubs, training centres, community centres, play areas, parks, community gardens, sports facilities, etc.
An integrated plan can help to identify the various needs of the community and the local businesses and try to meet those needs together. A very good example are social enterprises. These organisations use the power of business to solve social or environmental problems. However, there are many other ways an integrated plan makes sense.
Integrated plans can identify what skills are needed by businesses and offer targeted skills training in that community. This helps build a local educated workforce which will in turn help to attract new businesses into the area. Plans can also identify what skills are already in the community so that the right businesses are attracted into the area. Councils and communities can also attract new employment by creating nice, welcoming spaces with a vibrant art, culture, social and sporting scene. Barriers to employment such as poor literacy, disability, inadequate childcare, etc. can also be identified and services created to help people to overcome those barriers. This all helps create a 15-minute neighbourhood where people live near where they work. This reduces commuting and congestion and improves social networks and the health of a community and its environment.
Public consultations are a great way to have your voice heard on important issues and tell us what your community needs- you know your community best after all!
Public participation is vital for decision-making and has proven to produce better policies, strengthen democracy and build trust (OECD Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions, 2020). Also, research shows that decisions are more likely to be implemented effectively and efficiently if the decision-making process is open, honest and accountable (Working Group Report on Citizen Engagement with Local Government, Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government February 2014).
The last plan had a big impact on Cork City. It successfully completed over 200 actions with the help of groups across the city.
Here are some short videos showcasing some of the successful projects that came about from the last Local Economic and Community Plan.