2022 Community Wellbeing

The Covid Pandemic radically changed the focus of our group and increased our numbers. The service introduced us to a category of work that is outside the criteria of the Tidy Towns Competition. Community support is now a key pillar of our volunteer group with members who specifically support these services. Since we don't just focus on the environment in 2020/21 we amended our group's description to 'Johnstown Tidy Towns, caring for the environment and Community'.

Our projects are varied but they all revolve around support from the community to the community. It never ceases to amaze us how individuals can respond so generously in times of crisis or need.

With the exception of the Seasonal Lighting project (funded by Tidy Towns) all the work described is unpaid and everything is sourced for free from the community or support from individual donations from the public or businesses. We have worked under the umbrella of a registered charity / not-for-profit group, specifically Inner City Helping Homeless, and now Athboy’s People Who Care Share and Sleep Out Cavan.

Quick Link to Projects

(N) Johnstown Navan Ukraine Appeal

In response to the worldwide appeal for help during March 2022 we requested, coordinated, despatched, and delivered several tonnes of essential aid to Poland. This involved engaging with several individuals and organisations from not only Johnstown and Navan, but from all over Ireland. What was remarkable was the speed in which this was communicated, completed and the 50+ volunteers that got involved with very little notice to help collect, sort, pack and dispatch. We’re conscious that there is more to come and plans are being formed in how to follow this up with a second, third and more.

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(M) Fundraising

Covid pandemic meant that fundraising for our groups normal activities ceased. However, we've been fortunate to have the support of Meath County Council through grants such as the Covid Grant, Community Grant, and occasional ad-hoc support. As a not-for-profit group, with unpaid volunteers, we have relied on the local community and businesses for sponsorship and donations. Fundraising It is also our opportunity to raise awareness of what we do and to gather new members. We actively seek to shake off the stereotype image of a Tidy Towns group through these events.

In 2019/20 we raised and divided the €3k rasied from Smith's SuperValu Bag Packs between Colaiste Na Mi, St Stephen's NS, Ard Ri CMS, and St Mary's Special School for them to implement school environmental projects. We are delighted to be returning to Smith's SuperValu this year for 2 fundraising opportunities that we could use to support both our 4 local schools and our wider area community support. We will come under the umbrella of our partner group The Athboy People Who Share Care who are becoming a registered charity.

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The Johnstown Sunflower Trail 2022 was envisaged as a fundraising opportunity for our own group but the connection to Ukraine, and the crisis being experienced by the people affected by the war, has meant that we intend to use this as an opportunity to benefit them. The donation of seed growing supplies has enabled our display to be considerably larger than anticipated and together with street signage and social media promotions we will seek to make a positive difference.

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(M) Community Recycling

‘One man’s waste is another man’s treasure’ is an apt statement. We identified that people are sending items to landfill that we could put to use. To add another string to our bow we appealed for residents to ask us first before sending garden items to landfill. The response has resulted in a growing number of items being rehomed within the public arena.

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(M) Covid 19 Support Service

This service was supported by over 50 individuals within days of its formation. Fortunately, we have had little call for support in recent months. We still remain poised to respond since Covid continues to strike our community.

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(M) Navan Outreach

Outreach to the homeless tugs at the heart strings of the dozen volunteers who respond to calls for help. Formed from the Covid Support volunteers we continue to provide basic help to those in unfortunate circumstances. Providing essential food, clothing, and sometimes tents and sleeping bags has unfortunately become normalised.

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(M) Clothing Appeal

A fortunate connection from members with the local hotels has meant that we have a new regular supply to boost the community donations of pre-loved/abandoned clothing. The demise of the Inner City Helping Homeless charity in Nov 2021 risked closing our service. The new connection with Sleep Out Cavan has enabled us to continue to make a positive difference to ensure clothing goes to those actually in need and not to landfills or dubious door2door collectors.

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(M) Action Against Food Poverty

Another service born from the Covid Support initiative. We have operated since April 2020 and although the destinations change we still continue to provide 20+ food hampers, to families in need each week. The food donations from the community and collaboration with the Athboy People Who Care Share group, together with the food network set up via ICHH before their closure has ensured that this service has continued.

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(M) Back to School Packs

Each Autumn we have sourced supplies to ensure that students in disadvantaged families have the equipment to ensure they have a fair chance.

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(M) Easter Egg Appeal

Often seen as a seasonal excess our group ensures that those families experiencing hardship can bring a smile to their children.

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(M) Christmas Presents Appeal

An annual appeal where we collect and distribute Christmas shoeboxes donated by the community to disadvantaged families took a boost in 2021 where our efforts to support the community got the engagement of Navan schools, sports and community clubs, and a local philanthropist. Donations during the pandemic, coupled with the demise of ICHH charity, meant that we experienced a significant reduction in donations but in 2021 we managed to deliver over 600 presents.

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(M) Seasonal Lighting

Hope, optimism, and communities helping each other formed the reason for our lighting feature in winter 2020. Symbolising a ring of outstretched hands, separated, but still connected, it created a bright feature on the trees within a dark spot of Bailis Downs, Metges Road. It proved so popular that we repeated it with more lights in 2021 inviting Santa to switch it on. Unfortunately, one of the trees has since died (vandalism by ring barking in 2016 finally killed the tree). However, we plan to use this in 2022 to symbolise both the losses the community has felt during the pandemic and the new people who have entered into our lives.

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