23 Nov Planning Policy Support, Department for Communities and PWC Support, Political Support, Celebrity Support, USA Support, A Farmers Support and Your Support
Arney River running through our beautiful site
5 weeks is a long time in pioneering an Ecovillage…
The latest thrills and spills of this educational adventure to inspire Northern Ireland’s first Ecovillage into existence, comes 18 years after the UN stated that Ecovillages are one of the “Best Practices, as excellent models of sustainable living” we have available… today there are thousands of recognised Ecovillages in the world across 70 countries and 6 continents… the Republic of Ireland has Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Wales has Lammas Ecovillage, Scotland has Findhorn Ecovillage, England has the Eden Project and Northern Ireland… well we think it is time for Northern Ireland to have Enriched Earth Educational Ecovillage… and thankfully… we are far from alone in thinking this.
In fact we are deeply touched and almost overwhelmed with the constantly growing support that is coming our way… from school pupils to Stormont Ministers, from environmental activists to corporate leaders and we welcome all genuine support… thank you so much to everyone who has been part of this incredible journey so far…
We now stand at a pivotal moment… thanks to the incredible support of a Fermanagh farmer who wants a genuine and beneficial legacy for his cherished land beyond any concern for mere financial gain… we now have in principle the 111 acre site of our dreams… the initial biggest hurdle in our path to get a site, has been overcome with relative and auspicious ease… and so looms the next obstacle… even more challenging than the needle in a haystack site search… winning planning permission!
Can we do it? Yes, we can… with your help and the help of the people of Fermanagh and Omagh Council Area who support this project… with the help of the Planners, the Community Planners and the critical support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Winning Planning Policy Support!
With the priceless advocacy of Colm Bradley from Community Places NI: Founder and Director JP Patton went to Derrylin last Wednesday evening, to meet (in the suitably cultural venue of the Mummers Museum)… the Senior Planners and Community Planners for FODC. Deirdre McSorley led her team in the community consultation process and her genuine concern for the welfare of the council area was evident. She showed sincere interest in the One Planet Development Policy which we are seeking to implement. It was also evident from other farmers in the area that this policy could really benefit many small-holders that make up much of the farming community. Kim McLaughlin, Head of Community Planning and Performance, was also very warm in her reception of Enriched Earth Ecovillage and it is clear how our project can be of benefit to this vital area in ensuring the long term welfare of the region.
Winning your Help!
So how can you help, in the immediate, reference this critical planning step? Well we need EVERYONE who lives in the Fermanagh-Omagh District Council Area who wishes to see Enriched Earth Ecovillage win planning permission to avail of a very fortuitous but short window of opportunity that is currently open to us…until MONDAY 28th November 2016… FODC are leading the way in the province for setting out their policy for devolved council planning… and all council area residents can have their say! So please if you live in the council area, are a stakeholder or have a genuine interest in supporting our project: have your say in this vital questionnaire OR if you know someone who lives in the area who is supportive of environmental action and education… please ask them to fill it in with advocacy for our project. How you fill it in is up to you but what we suggest is that you put forward support for an Ecovillage in the Council area under One Planet Development Policy, even if noted at least as a ‘special experiment.’ You may also of course mention Enriched Earth Educational Ecovillage CIC if you wish 🙂
There are two linked surveys, both need filled in:
This is lengthy document and we don’t require it all to be filled in-but certainly we suggest relevant sections such as ‘vision and values’ might be a place to advocate for us, also under the tourism section. However if you don’t live in the council area, please don’t fill it in as its only for residents and you do need to include an address.
This Community Planning one is shorter but equally vital and again, doesn’t need all filled in.
Winning Contract with Department of Communities and PWC!
In other news we are thrilled to have won a contract with the Department of Communities and PWC as part of their ‘Investment Ready Programme’ and we overcame stiff competition to be one of only 6 social enterprises in all of NI to be selected. This means we will be getting help from the highest corporate level to ensure that our business plan and investment schedule and process is nothing less than a polished masterpiece.
Winning Support from Minister for Infrastructure!
Further to our last blog report ref contact from the Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, we are absolutely delighted that he has invited us to meet him at Stormont on the 31st January 2016 where we will seek his direct support for the project and the inclusion of the One Planet Development Policy into his current review of PPS21.
The Minister showing his Eco Credentials in ‘Bike to School Week’ ©Down News
Winning Support from FODC Councillors, MLA’s and MEP’s!
Having engaged with the Local Community Associations and the Council Planners we have now began to contact a range of political representatives in the area asking for their support in general and particularly in terms of the current review of planning policy. We have been in touch with numerous representatives across the political spectrum as we view the environment as one area in which we hope everyone can agree that Enriched Earth Ecovillage is a positive step forward for Fermanagh and Northern Ireland as a whole. We owe it to our children and our children’s children to leave the world in a better state than that in which we found it!
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Area
Winning Support from Tom Elliot MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone!
We are particularly delighted to have won the in principle support of the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Tom Elliot, who promptly replied to our request for support saying “it certainly sounds to be positive” and “I am happy to support the principle of the proposal.” We were also genuinely complimented with his astute observation that “you have a lot of background work carried out.” We are really looking forward to working with Tom as he has said that he is “happy to meet and discuss further” and “happy to access the detail of the proposal as each aspect comes forward.” We are genuinely delighted with this level of local political support and we hope that others, across the full political spectrum, will also come forward and join with us as we work together to ensure success.
MP Tom Elliot ©Fermanagh Herald
Winning Support from Local Celebrity!
We were delighted to have been nominated and short-listed for the Social Enterprise NI ‘One to Watch Award’ and really enjoyed the fabulous gala event and got to make some significant networking connections across the sector. We were especially pleased to meet the host of the event Paul Clarke whose passion for Social Enterprise was evident and he was happy to wish us every success on our pioneering Eco project. Lovely to meet you Paul-thanks. Our founder John-Paul actually used to work with Paul’s mother Ida and enjoyed hearing how she was doing. NI is a small place 🙂
JP and Paul enjoy an informal chat at Gala Event
Winning Support from USA Investor!
We were also very pleased to welcome a special guest who came all the way from the USA to visit us and who has a passion both for Eco Education, Ireland and Political Reconciliation. Our guest got to visit our prospective site in Fermanagh, mingled with fellow Aspiring Residents at our planning meeting held in the Europa Hotel in Belfast and was very impressed. She has affirmed her commitment to investing in the project and we are absolutely delighted to have her support.
Some of the Team meet our Special Guest from USA
Be part of the solution…