Wicklow County Council has announced the winners of its annual Tidy Towns and Environmental Awards. While the national Tidy Town Competition was postponed in 2020 groups throughout the county remained active, caring for our towns and local environment and delivering new projects on sustainability and biodiversity.
It was a challenge for communities in Wicklow to keep projects going when Covid restriction limited opportunities to work together. Many projects had to stop and preparations for the summer Tidy Towns campaign were temporarily halted. Groups went online to organise their work, often working individually when possible on projects, while coming together to carry out planned projects outdoors when easing of restrictions allowed. More people were out and about in their local communities over the last year. This led to many new volunteers getting involved, requesting litter clean up materials to use in their local area, revamping green areas on their estates or undertaking a project to protect local biodiversity.
Our Main Streets were at times quieter than we would like and it was a tough year for the small businesses that are the backbone of our towns. All of the twenty nine Tidy Towns groups continued to work with their local businesses to present their main streets and town centres at their best. Hollywood, Dunlavin and Greystones were judged best in county during the summer. Litter management was excellent, planted areas well maintained and shopfronts had clearly received some attention and work done during lockdown.
Cllr. Pat Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council congratulated the Tidy Towns groups and other award winners thanking all who gave their time to care for their communities in 2020 and who have contributed to projects that build a more sustainable future for all of us.
Estates also featured in the competition. The standard was very high this year with many reporting increased involvement by residents and an increasing solidarity with neighbours looking out for each other. An increasing focus on making space for biodiversity featured in estates and it was good to see areas left unmown for pollinators becoming a bigger part of our green space. Brennan’s Parade in Bray and John Paul Ave in Arklow won the top awards.
Frank Curran, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council thanked to groups involved. .2020 was a key year for Wicklow with Climate Action increasingly in focus and he noted that community groups have a vital role in mobilizing citizen engagement for Climate Action.
The environmental awards recognize best practice projects in a range of topics covering Climate Action, biodiversity, protection of resources and prevention of waste. Prize winners included Tidy Towns groups, schools and businesses.