Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Impact of budget on those out of work - meeting invitation

The impact of the budget on people who are currently out of work will be discussed at a Newbridge meeting on Thursday, December 17 at 11.30am.

The morning meeting in Newbridge Parish Centre, Station Road, is open to all and representatives from the Citizen Information Centre (CIC) will be present to answer questions. The meeting is an initiative arising from the Newbridge Forum, which has already held three meetings over recent months. The meeting is open to all who are unemployed, working short time or who fear their job may be at risk.

Free tea and coffee will be provided at the meeting and questions can be raised arising from changes to entitlements brought in through the budget. Other topics relating to the reality of unemployment will also be discussed. The budget will have a serious effect on everyone’s lives, particularly those who are out of work. This meeting in Newbridge Parish Centre will provide an opportunity to discuss issues relating to unemployment and for people to, if they wish, share their experiences and knowledge.

Questions that arise from the December budget can be raised at the informal meeting and the CIC representatives will provide an update on entitlement changes.

The first Newbridge Forum meeting in September identified the need to provide a network for people who are out of work. The December 17 meeting on budget issues is a first step towards this. The Newbridge Forum is organised by Newbridge Community Development, a voluntary organisation in the town. It can be contacted by email at ncdforum@gmail.com and details are online at www.ncdforum.blogspot.com.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Newbridge Forum meeting Thursday November 19 8pm

Newbridge Forum looks forward to you coming along to our meeting tonight, Thursday, November 19, in Newbridge Parish Centre.

Again there will be an open discussion on issues relating to the current economic crisis and how Newbridge and its residents are coping. The Forum is open to all and please encourage others to attend.

Newbridge Forum, Thursday, November 19, 8pm in Newbridge Parish Centre, Station Road.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Date change November Forum meeting

Unfortunately the Ireland V France soccer game in Paris takes place on the original November Forum date - November 18. Because we will all be cheering Ireland on, It has been decided to change the meeting day from the Wednesday to Thursday.

So you are invited to come along to the November Forum meeting on Thursday, November 19, at 8pm in Newbridge Parish Centre, Station Road, Newbridge. Again there will be interesting debate and conversation on issues affecting Newbridge in the current economic crisis. We look forward to seeing you at this meeting and will, keep you informed by email, if you are unable to attend.

Please feel free to encourage others to participate in the Newbridge Forum.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Newbridge Forum gets down to business

The Newbridge Forum on the economic crisis is getting down to business and showing it is doing much more than talking about problems.

The group, which is open to all, has held two meetings and a third is planned for Wednesday, November 18, in Newbridge Parish Centre. You are invited to come along to this meeting. The Forum involves people of all ages, who meet to discuss how they and Newbridge are dealing with the economic crisis. The two meetings to date, which were held in Hotel Keadeen, involved people talking openly together about the issues they feel are important.

The second meeting raised a number of challenges to those who attended. The interaction between those present, and the willingness of people to take on different tasks, and work together has marked the Newbridge Forum as a new way of working together.

Youth issues, the needs of people seeking employment, how can Newbridge promote itself as a town to improve local business and can people share their skills and talents in a new way are just some of the topics that have been discussed in detail.

The isolation and loneliness experienced by people who are seeking employment was a topic discussed at length at the first two meetings. Arising from this debate, a group is being formed to look at setting up a networking club where people could meet. Again this would be an open session with everyone invited to come along. As this idea develops, the Forum will update you through local media. This networking group would complement existing services and offer a chance for people to meet together. This Forum sub-group is also to look at developing a skills database for Newbridge highlighting the talents within the town of those seeking employment as well as people currently in work.

That session also looked at the issue of a Youth Alliance – a suggestion that young people and the groups they are involved in work together to improve facilities and services in the town. In October Kildare Youth Services hosted the Comhairle na nOg or Kildare Youth Council group in Newbridge and their representatives undertook to pursue the issue of a Youth Alliance with young people at this session.

The need to promote Newbridge as a town to do business was raised and a voucher scheme to give discounts to shop locally was debated. At present many of the town’s sporting clubs are involved in a similar project and it was agreed to see how this developed and whether it could be expanded by the business community to a wider group.

Newbridge Town Council is to investigate another idea that was raised at the Forum. This is to run a festival based on the rich musical heritage in Newbridge. Examples of how other towns generated business through a festival was discussed and councillors said this was something they were considering and would develop further.

Another idea put forward at the first Forum meeting was a Food Buying Club. This is where people join together to buy produce locally or to source cheaper, quality food for sale and distribution among members. Fada, the Newbridge group, which promotes community self-sufficience, has just started such a club and the Forum agreed to await initial feedback and then look at how it could be expanded among interested Newbridge residents.

One of the regular issues that arises in Newbridge is the income drain from the town through rates payments by business to Kildare County Council. Newbridge Town Council hasn’t full town council powers and is not a rate-gathering council. The Forum agreed to look at a specific aspect of this and to investigate whether all planning levies due to benefit the town over recent years have been spent on Newbridge projects. This is likely to involve significant monies and Newbridge Community Development is pursuing this project.

Creating more community gardens in Newbridge, where people can learn to grow their own produce, or develop community allotments was another interesting topic. Fada has already developed a small community garden at the rear of Newbridge Town Hall. The Forum felt with the volume of land currently lying undeveloped in Newbridge there was an opportunity to broaden this project. So it was decided this possibility would be investigated by Newbridge Community Development in association with Fada.

People sharing their skills to get jobs done that they would otherwise pay for is an interesting project undertaken by a primary school in the town. The Forum felt this was a very interesting development and it is something it will learn more about to see if it can translate to a wider community group.

The Forum is hosted by Newbridge Community Development, a voluntary community group that has existed in the town for the past 11 years. Both Forum meetings have involved a variety of very interesting topics that are discussed in an open and friendly atmosphere, where people come together to give their opinions and see what can be done.

Make sure to put Wednesday, November 18, in your diary and come along to the third Newbridge Forum meeting in Newbridge Parish Centre. You can raise issues that are important to you and be involved in working together to see us through the economic crisis.

You can check out Forum updates at http://ncdforum.blogspot.com/

Email the Newbridge Forum at ncdforum@gmail.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

Come along - Second Newbridge Forum invitation

The second meeting of the Newbridge Forum takes place this Wednesday, September 30, at 8pm in Hotel Keadeen.

We hope to see you at this follow-up session, which is organised by Newbridge Community Development. The first meeting two weeks ago was hugely successful and discussed a broad rang of issues. There were a variety of topics for general discussion such as unemployment, promoting Newbridge, developing a Food Buying Club, a local voucher scheme and developing an Alliance of Youth.

At the second meeting this Wednesday you will have an opportunity to discuss these and other issues and meet again with the people who made the first forum such an interesting night. Again, it will be a relaxed event with plenty of opportunity to chat to one another. If you know of others who would like to come along this Wednesday night, please invite them to join in.

Some of the key topics that emerged from the group discussions at our first meeting included:

Youth Alliance - is there a way to bring together the groups who are already working with young people in Newbridge to create a stronger voice?

Youth Cafe - why do other areas such as Athy and the Curragh have such a facility and there is nothing similar in Newbridge?

Unemployed and social exclusion - are there ways we in Newbridge can help break down the isolation many who are out of work feel? Can Newbridge identify the skills and talents of those who live here and use this to promote the town for business? How can people who are looking for work network together to share information and make connections? Creating hope is a challenge in the present time but what can be done to build on our community spirit and individual resources within Newbridge? Would a Jobs Club be something people are interested in developing?

Business voucher scheme - can Newbridge run its own business promotion scheme, offering vouchers and special offers to local people who spend in the town? Could this develop further into a Newbridge Currency and what else can be done to promote business?

Our town - Can Newbridge promote itself as a great location and why hasn't the town full local council status? Could the town employ a Town Development Manager to promote Newbridge? Is too much money leaving Newbridge to fund Kildare County Council and what can be done to change this? Should we have a local festival such as a Christy Moore Folk Festival? How can town pride be increased so we become a better town?

Skills exchange - can Newbridge people develop a register of local skills to show the talents available locally. This could promote the town for business but also develop into an exchange programme where people swap their skills and talents and achieve goals.

Food Buying Club - we all need to buy food but could there be a different way? The suggestion is to have a Food Buying Club where people join together to buy produce from local farmers and others. This could have the double benefit of helping local producers. Is there enough interest to develop this idea and shop in a new way?

Community Gardens - Can more gardens be developed in Newbridge and gardeners share their food producing skills with others to create more ways to produce food?

Come along and join in an interesting debate on these topics and others you may wish to raise.

Ideas flow at Newbridge Forum

The first Newbridge Forum to discuss the economic crisis was a lively and very interesting night. It was organised by Newbridge Community Development and held in Hotel Keadeen on September 16.

Ideas flowed when over 100 people gathered to raise issues that were important to them and to discuss them in detail. A follow-up Forum meeting will take place in Hotel Keadeen this Wednesday, September 30, at 8pm. You are all invited to attend, particularly those who attended the first meeting. Again it is an opportunity to meet people, talk together and thrash out issues that concern us all.

Range of topics

There were lots of very interesting topics suggested for discussion when the Forum was opened by Eoin McDonnell, a trained facilitator and Director of OakTree Coaching, which is based in Newbridge. The topics included a local food buying club, a discount voucher scheme run by local shops, tapping into individual and community resourcesfulness to meet the challenges ahead, securing urban status for the town council and facilities for young peoople.

When people divided into seven different groups to discuss the general issues that were raised there were many concrete suggestions on what people could do.

Skills database

In the first instances people put forward general topics.

One suggested involved Newbridge building a database of skills and professions within the town, both among the employed and unemployed. Such information could be used to attract new business or industry to the town. Navan in Co. Meath very successfully gathered this information and used it to market their town some years ago. It was stressed that the human resources we have in Newbridge are among the town’s strongest asset.

This theme was raised again and again when speakers stressed Newbridge needed to rely on talents within the town and its own resources to meet the current challenges.

Vouchers promoting business

The possibility of a Newbridge town currency was raised that would encourage people to do business locally. It was suggested a first step could be to have a business voucher scheme, which could involve discounts available to local people when they do business in Newbridge.

Difficulties in getting places on retraining courses were also raised. As a result those out of work just sit and home as no suitable course is available for them. A suggestion that a Fas course be run in retro-fitting homes to ensure they are more energy efficient was made. Grants are available to people to do this work but there is a need for a course to train people in the construction trade to do this work.

Youth facilities

There was concern expressed at the lack of facilities for young people in Newbridge. This meant many just had to hang around the streets and it was said there was very little to motivate them outside of school. The speaker also was concerned at drugs being sold in the town.

A skills swap scheme being promoted through one of the local primary schools was mentioned. This involves people volunteering to do something for someone else and, in turn, having some task completed for them. Everyone has something to give was the comment by the speaker who said this scheme could work by someone providing babysitting for example.

Costly food

The affordability of food was another issue raised with the speaker suggesting a Food Buying Club could ease costs and also support local producers. Local farmers would benefit through accessing a market in their locality and people would have fresh food sourced within their own community.

Social inclusion

Disability issues and awareness of others were also raised. Not parking in a space reserved for a person with a disability and trimming overhanging hedges are important for people with a disability and greater awareness was requested.

Inclusiveness of people with a disability and particularly an intellectual disability was also raised. The question was asked how can Newbridge promote inclusion in areas such as employment, leisure and through attitude change. “It doesn’t cost a penny to be inclusive”, was the speaker’s comment.


The difficulty of losing social welfare benefits while taking up part-time employment. The need for information on this area was raised as to how many hours a person could work, while retaining benefits.

Isolation can be a major issue for people who have become unemployed so the issue of networking and networking meetings was raised. Putting people in touch with one another was raised as a way to limit this social isolation.

A one-stop Resource Centre could be a means of bringing people who are unemployed together. Services are available, the speaker noted, but what is missing is a focal point. She said this could be a location where a coaching service, skills for job interviews and other assistance could be provided. The importance of having a contact in a local social welfare office was raised to help source information.

Promoting Newbridge

The need to promote Newbridge as a town and to look to upgrade the local government status of the town council was raised. At present Newbridge Town Council doesn’t have planning powers, collect rates or build houses. This developed into a significant topic with people pointing out Newbridge doesn’t get all the rate income that is collected from business in the town and local services aren’t properly resourced.

The suggestion that Newbridge have a Town Development Manager was raised. This is someone who would look at overall promotion and development in the town and who could develop the town such as Kilkenny had done in the past. The need for civic awareness among all residents and setting achievable goals was also raised. The lack of a town courthouse was also raised.

Creating hope

Despite the difficult times, it is important people have hope. A speaker said people experience anxiety, depression and feel they are stuck in a very difficult situation. St Conleth’s Parish in Newbridge is working to create a sense of hope among people.

The need to involve young people in all aspects of Newbridge life was raised. The speaker said too often young people were wrongly labelled and added it is up to everyone to involve young people more in debate and activities.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Great Free Training Opportunity


Two training places have been very kindly offered to Newbridge Community Development free ofcharge for an iPhone software developers course.

iPhone Apps Ireland run the course in Dublin for software developers /engineers / IT staff that want to learn how to develop applicationsfor the Apple iPhone. Please see www.iphoneappsireland.com.

They are offering two free places to individuals who have lost their job. The next course will begin on Monday, 21st September in BewleysHotel Newlands Cross. In addition there will be a 40% discount off the normal €899 cost for anyone that is referred from Newbridge who feels their job may be in danger or has been cut down to part time and feels they want to 'upskill' to help return or retain work.

iPhone Apps Ireland is Irelands only iPhone dedicated software development and training company. The company's iPhone development training team has achieved huge success creating iPhone Apps that are distributed and sold through Apple’s App store.

If you are interested in being considered for these two free places contact iPhone Apps at info@iphoneappsireland.com or 01 681 2321 and talk to Keith. Lots more information on the company and the course at: www.iphoneappsireland.com.