One of Abbeyfeale’s finest outdoor spaces is facing a huge financial challenge a year into a pandemic that has choked fundraising capability.
ut the committee that bought and developed the privately-run Abbeyfeale Town Park is fighting back against the effects of the virus as members launch a new fundraising drive.
Committee Chairperson John O’Sullivan, development secretary Gerardine O’Brien, Celene McNally and Mary McGill were joined by Fine Gael Cllr Liam Galvin and Chairperson of the Newcastle West Municipal District Council Fianna Fáil Cllr Francis Foley to launch a new fundraising campaign in the bright amenity on Friday.
They are all now calling on the public for support in a new GoFundMe campaign – via the Abbeyfeale Town Park Facebook page – or by setting up a standing order/direct debit on the Park’s bank account.
Gerardine set out the challenge they face: “At the time it was established in 1995 we were blessed to get the FÁS scheme and 25 years later this is now known as a Community Employment (CE) Scheme, which is under the auspices of the Department of Social Protection and it continues to play an integral part in the day to day running of Abbeyfeale Town Park. The CE workers cut the grass, maintain flower beds, trim trees and hedges, pick up the litter and undertake individual projects as planned by the Committee.
“And just recently we got the support of our councillors and Limerick City and County Council who helped to secure €60,000 from the Urban and Village Renewal Scheme to upgrade all the pathways around the park.
“We should point out here, that there are no grants to clear debts; money is given for specific projects only… We are appealing now for financial support as we cannot run fundraising events, such as our much loved annual Dog Show, due to Covid-19.”
In order to keep the Green Flag-winning Park as a vital amenity for the town, the committee is now seeking up to €50,000 in funding.
This is to help service its €9,000 debt to the bank from last year; as well as €15,000 towards maintenance and the administrative costs associated with having a CE scheme; €10,000 towards insurance and auditor costs as well as up to €15,000 as a reserve for ‘match-funding’ grants as they arise.
“Match Funding is required by certain organisations to access grants for future developments in the park. The more we have, the better our chances are for qualifying for these grants. We are losing-out on certain grants by not having a reserve in the bank,” Gerardine explained.