With just four weeks to go, Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development is joining forces with Dancing With The Stars winner, Mairéad Ronan and calling on people to reach out to their neighbours as part of The Big Hello!, the first National Community Weekend which takes place this May Bank Holiday Weekend (May 4-6).
“The Big Hello!” supports communities to host events in their local area in order to strengthen community ties and help tackle the problem of social isolation.
Minister Ring said: “In a world where people are spending less time in their communities and more time at work, it is important to find new ways to connect people and focus on the importance of neighbours. In our busy lives we rarely make time for each other outside of our network of family, friends and social media contacts.”
In order to support these events, Minister Ring has allocated €10,000 to each of the 31 Local Authorities and asked them to allocate funding to The Big Hello! events in their areas. The target is for at least 1,000 local events to be held throughout Ireland.
Funding for events is available to residents’ committees and community and voluntary groups through their Local Authorities. Further details can be found here, and on The Big Hello! Facebook page.
Minister Ring continued: “Sadly, many people living among us are experiencing social isolation and loneliness. I firmly believe that this initiative can help people to connect or re-connect with their neighbours and communities.”
Mairéad Ronan said: “We all lead such incredibly busy lives nowadays; The Big Hello! is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with our neighbours by organising an event or attending one in our local communities. No matter how big or small, it’s up to you to decide with your neighbours what type of event you’d like to host in your area.”
The event is being organised by the Minister’s Department in partnership with representatives of Public Participation Networks, Local Community Development Companies, Volunteer Ireland, Young Social Innovators, Macra na Feirme, Street Feast, An tOireachtas and Change X.
It is intended to have at least one Irish language event in each Local Authority area.