New group aims to shine a positive light on Ballybane

Ballybane Library

A new group has been established in Ballybane with the aim of supporting and promoting the area – and they are looking for residents to come on board.

The Ballybane Taskforce has set out an ambitious plan to develop several areas over the next year including youth, environment, communications, adult engagement and community facilities.

Several organisations have already bought into the idea with SCCUL, Galway City Partnership, Galway City Council, An Garda Síochána, Fóroige, GRETB, Galway Traveller Movement and Túsla all members.

According to the Ballybane Taskforce’s Acting Secretary, Imelda Gormally, they want this new initiative to address issues in the area but also to highlight the positive work that goes on in Ballybane.

“While there definitely are issues in the area that we want to see alleviated, we also want to promote Ballybane and shine a positive light on all the good things that happen in the area.

“We want to use the taskforce to spread the word of what does exist and to try get people to use what is already there,” she said.

Imelda, a community development worker with Galway City Partnership, says there has been a hugely positive reaction to the taskforce and agencies such as Galway Sports Partnership, St Brigid’s Pastoral Team, the Ballybane Library, Youth Work Ireland Galway and the Ballybane Resource Centre have all rowed in behind it.

The Local Employment Service Network, Imam Noonan from Ballybrit Mosque and a representative of the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Taskforce have just recently joined the team.

The taskforce will also be seeking two representatives from four geographic areas across Ballybane.

“We are recruiting community representatives from four geographic areas – done by pooling the neighbouring estates.

“The key is to get strong community representation and part of that is to have a group behind them that they can communicate with.

“Part of my role is ensuring that those community representatives have that two-way communication – we are really trying to support them,” said Imelda.

Imelda explained that it is very important for them to have a wide range of representatives on the taskforce and, for that reason, there will be two representatives appointed from seven thematic groups.

These include young people, older people, new communities, the travelling community, disability groups, LGBT+ groups and sports groups.

The original aims for the taskforce emerged from a survey carried out in the area earlier this year.

According to Imelda, the establishment of the taskforce could not have come at a better time with Túsla, the Child and Family Agency, recently stating that they will commence, before the end of the year, an extensive ‘needs assessment’ for the Ballybane area.

When the report from this is released, the Ballybane Task Force will be poised to act, said Imelda.

The group has sourced funding from the Local Community Development Committee for the setting-up of a website – something Imelda believed would really assist them in communicating with the area’s residents.

“Our aim is to have voices from Ballybane heard at a wider level – we hope that eventually the Task Force would become part of the Galway City Community Network.

“We want to get the community’s voice heard beyond Ballybane – firstly at a local level, then at a regional level and even at a national level; we are aiming high here,” exclaimed Imelda.

Anyone from Ballybane with an interest in their community has been invited to a meeting at the Ballybane Resource Centre on Wednesday evening, October 11, at 7pm.

The meeting will be used to appoint community representatives to the Ballybane Taskforce.