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Carlow’s Ru:rban Project


Credits @Carlow County Council

Next up in our series of articles showcasing the latest local government innovation from the Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards, we hear about Carlow County Council’s award-winning Ru:rban project.

The award

The Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards showcase best practices in local government and recognise the skills, hard work, innovation and enthusiasm within local government. The Excellence in Local Government Awards are held in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The 2022 award ceremony was held on Thursday, 24th November 2022 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin 9, and Carlow County Council was delighted to win the Initiative through the Municipal Districts Award for their Ru:rban Project which was part of the EU Urbact Programme.


Rurban was delivered by a partnership between Carlow County Council Executive and elected members, businesses, community groups and NGOs working in the area of Community Gardens and Allotments.

Following an application for EU Funding, Carlow County Council was successfully selected to be part of a URBACT Network called Ru:Rban. URBACT’s mission is to enable cities and towns to work together and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges, by networking, learning from one another’s experiences, drawing lessons and identifying good practices to improve urban policies.

The project builds upon the “Management Model of Urban Gardens in Rome”. The project is based on shared good practice across the project partners of Rome (Lead Partner: Italy) / Split (Croatia) / Alexandroupolis (Greece) / Algeciras (Spain) and Carlow Town (County Carlow). In order to complete this transfer of best practice, the geographically distant partners share experiences to enhance the capacities of each other’s local governance.

Transfer efforts are given to three distinct, interlinked, thematic elements that the good practice is divided into:

  • Capacity building in organising urban gardens
  • Inspiring and training people to manage urban gardens (Gardenisers)
  • Urban gardens’ governance and regulations.

Coordinated by the Local Enterprise Office and in association with relevant departments in the Council, the project brought together over 20 stakeholder groups within County Carlow who are working in the area of community gardening and allotments, created the Urbact Local Group (ULG) and trained 10 Gardenisers (Garden Organisers) in order to build capacity and learning in the area of community gardening.

Benefits for County Carlow from this project include the significant capacity development within all participating groups and networking opportunities for the County not only within County Carlow but with our newly formed European partner network, which may lead to further projects in the future.

The funding approved for the project was €83,360, which was funded through the Urbact III Programme, which provided the opportunity for County Carlow representatives to travel to the other partner cities to observe first-hand the community gardening and allotment practices of other regions, avail of training of Urban Gardenisers, and host the other city partners in Carlow to showcase our own community garden and allotment practices, sharing knowledge between all cities thereby enhancing capacity for all participants and improving governance of our urban gardens and gardening spaces.

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