On Saturday, February 24, the Kildare Public Participation Network hosted a successful Plenary meeting at the Curragh Racecourse, bringing together over 60 participants. The event aimed to foster community engagement, networking, and collaborative discussions among member groups.

The day kicked off with a networking breakfast, providing attendees with the opportunity to interact with various community support information stands including BHP Insurance, Kildare Sustainable Energy Community Mentor, Clann Credo Community Finance, ALONE, and the Irish Probation Service.

Evelyn O’Rourke, Kildare PPN facilitator, formally opened the meeting, extending a warm welcome to all participants.

Grainne Fleming, Coordinator of Kildare PPN, presented an ambitious work plan for 2024, highlighting key initiatives such as the ‘Let’s Talk’ training initiative, Climate Action Weekend, Social Inclusion Week, and actions aimed at strengthening participation and decision-making. The 2024 work plan and budget were subsequently ratified. Additionally, three recently elected Secretariat/PPN representatives were ratified: Linda Walsh (Secretariat), Liz Denieffe (LCDC), and Michael Kenny (LCDC).

Participants then engaged in a workshop titled ‘Having Your Voice Heard,’ where they identified processes to support PPN Representatives and established a roadmap for member organisations to provide input to elected Representatives. Key themes that emerged during the feedback session included utilising technology throughout the process, the importance of a two-way flow of communication (feedforward and feedback), and the potential benefits of grouping by specific areas of interest.

Evan Arkwright, the manager at the Curragh Racecourse then addressed members and talked about the importance of community engagement and the initiatives he and his team have put in place to support the community and voluntary sector in Kildare, including the Brigid 1500 celebrations and the collaboration with Nua Healthcare where the theme of their St Patrick festival racing day will highlight the link between the benefits of physical activity to good mental health.  Attendees were then treated to a behind the scenes tour of the Grandstand.

We were delighted to collaborate with Evan and his team and look forward to continued collaboration in the future.

It was a great meeting for fostering community engagement, collaboration, and setting the stage for impactful initiatives in 2024.

Draft Agenda

  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Minutes of November 2023 Plenary
  • Ratification of the following:
    • 2024 Work Plan and Budget
    • Recently elected Secretariat/Representatives
  • Workshop ‘Having your voice heard’
  • Community Engagement
  • Behind the scenes tour of the Curragh Racecourse.