TDT celebrates 20 years of success
Tramore Development Trust (TDT) is a community led voluntary organisation that was formed in 2000.
TDT is a company limited by guarantee and has charitable status led by a board of volunteer directors. The role of TDT is to act as a catalyst for change and to work with stakeholders to develop projects in Tramore. TDT encourages social integration and harnesses resources and people to create an energetic town that acknowledges the past of Tramore, while creating an exciting future.
Reflecting over the past 20 years, Anne Harpur, chairperson of TDT board and one of the original founding committee members, said the decision to harness the generated energy and form a group 20 years ago was a significant one and has led to many successful projects, citing three in particular that are particularly significant:
1: Conversion of the Coastguard Station into a Community Cultural Arts Centre and the management and operation of a vibrant community café.
2: The creation, management and operation of the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens (LHJG), in memory of Lafcadio Hearn, in the former Tramore House gardens, in cooperation with Waterford City & County Council.
3: The conversion and refurbishment of the former Friends Meeting House, originally for use as an after school Childcare Centre, and more recently as a centre for adults with additional needs, currently managed by the Brothers of Charity.
To celebrate twenty years in existence, TDT instigated a review of its constitution, vision, mission, and various projects. On foot of this review, a decision was made by TDT to strengthen its core focus on wider community development and to free up energy and resources to undertake several exciting new projects within the community.
The current projects were evaluated and TDT recognised the success of LHJG and how it has reached a milestone in its development as a project. Visitor numbers have grown from 4,000 in its opening year, 2015, to 20,000 visitors per annum. The LHJ Gardens are now a recognised Social Enterprise which has received considerable State assistance through Pobal’s Community Services Programme (CSP). This, together with the support of Fáilte Ireland, has enabled the gardens to develop a national and international reputation as a visitor attraction. The gardens have now reached a stage where the future development warrants a separate board to drive the project forward to reach its full cultural and economic potential.
The decision to establish a new company, limited by guarantee and with charitable status, reflects the commitment of TDT to local development. Agnes Aylward, the TDT Director who spearheaded the development of the LHJG, said the decision to establish the new company reflects the level of independence and sustainability that the LHJ gardens project has achieved with the support of TDT; Waterford City and County Council; Pobal’s CSP Programme; the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and Tramore’s Community Employment Scheme. The commitment of the garden’s dedicated staff and the extensive support of the local community through the Garden’s Volunteers Network, has also been paramount.
This success story reminds us all of the important role of organisations like Tramore Development Trust which are essential in identifying local projects, incubating them, scaling them up and facilitating creative community development and longer-term sustainability.