Work Local. Deliver Global. #65 #cong15

By Clodagh Barry.

Clodagh Barry #65 Work Local. Deliver Global

Balanced economic development is strongly connected to a place and dependent on being connected to a successful place.  Galway City is a recognised successful micro city.  This success of Galway city is connected to and enabled by the hinterland.  It is my view that our city & county economies are interwoven.  The Teagasc 2014 Rural Towns Index, which ranked 302 towns in Ireland, gave a comparative measure of a town’s success based on an employment/net migration metric. It revealed a strongly uneven picture of success amongst the towns proximate to Galway City.  However, Galway City is supported by a diverse set of towns within a radius of twenty miles, which have the potential to or which are already – providing critical infrastructure, which presents the opportunity for sustainable coordinated county wide growth.  

In July 2014, I set out to open up an enterprise centre in Headford town.   Over ten years ago and in fighting the rising house prices, we found ourselves living in the hinterland of Headford.  We had yet to discover that our blind good luck set us in a true hidden gem, which never fails to excite a young family of inquisitive minds that seeks out any opportunity to explore.  The next challenge is staying in residence.  Traffic passes through the town on the way to the metro centres, retail outlets continue to close, decent broadband is a local joke, unemployment & opportunity pass by along with the tourists…. Stop.  Headford and every rural town deserves more.

The Hub opened in January 2015.  The Hub promotes enterprise & opportunity to the community as well as providing professional office work space, supported by decent broadband in Headford.  In addition, The Hub provides a professional meeting & training rooms, relevant events, networking and mentoring in Headford.   

We plan to grow and develop the activities and opportunities for The Hub.  Just this year we are working with Presentation College Headford, Bank of Ireland and Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre to deliver the first student enterprise competition.  Following on from inspiration found at #Cong2014 I worked with some techies to test the waters with an ‘Hour of Code’ event in December 2014 - Coder Dojo is now underway since January 2015.  The Hub has facilitated a communal kitchen in Headford food group as well as a town tourism group.   As the economic tide is now reported to be turning nationally,  this is an opportunity to plan for the future of the town, the population and the physical landscape that will secure the future for this modern, rural town, its landscape and its population.

The planning and the success of Headford as a 21st century functioning town with a vibrant & thriving enterprise & population is the focus of our planning activity at this time.  The future for ourselves and other modern rural towns will develop and progress as motorways and broadband is enhanced.   The Hub in Headford intends to take an economic role in this transformative time.  We are now working towards our future economic performance, economic sustainability, job growth & population retention in our town. 

The Hub is a dynamic workspace and an opportunity for professionals, entrepreneurs & students to exchange experiences, ideas, and avail of support and training in North Galway.  The Hub sets out to co-work and co-operate.  To date we have engaged with similar enterprise centres, networked with government and local agencies in order to bring vibrancy and long-term economic growth to our town and submitted on local policy paper opportunities.

Modern rural towns are a central critical cog in future sustainable infrastructure.  To sustain a town’s purpose in a modern society, we must promote the opportunity to ‘Work Local and Deliver Global.

CongRegation © Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie