As the winners of the 2021 SuperValu TidyTowns competition celebrate their achievements, Ian Allen, Managing Director, SuperValu, reflects on the great partnership between SuperValu and TidyTowns, and how the competition has evolved to become the most effective community initiative in Ireland if not in Europe.
Over the course of the pandemic we can see a renewed sense of appreciation for community and the positive impact communities have on our lives.
We have been sponsoring the SuperValu TidyTowns competition for so long simply because we believe in strong and vibrant communities, we believe in the power and joy of people working together and we believe in creating better communities for our children and our neighbours.
SuperValu independent retailers live and work in their local communities. Community matters to them and therefore SuperValu stores are well placed to support the 1,000 plus TidyTowns committees.
At its heart, the competition is the public expression of the work countless individuals undertake to build community spirit and make their local area a better place in which to live and work. The incredible committee members, in collaboration with our network of independent retailers, share our desire to build thriving, sustainable communities.
In fact, in many ways, SuperValu TidyTowns could be considered the embodiment of the Government’s new and important rural development policy. Our Rural Future envisages a thriving rural Ireland, which recognises the centrality of people, the importance of vibrant and lived-in rural places, and the potential to create quality jobs and sustain our shared environment. There can be no doubt that the SuperValu TidyTowns competition has a vital role to play in bringing that vision to life.
It is also important that we recognise the importance of TidyTowns in the area of building more sustainable communities. As long-term supporters of TidyTowns, we at SuperValu have seen first-hand the competition grow and evolve over time. This year, more than ever, we have seen a growing number of inspiring initiatives that focus on the biodiversity, conservation and resilience that are critical to creating sustainable communities. This is something I would like to see more of, and I believe there is still room to increase the focus on sustainability for TidyTowns, because our communities and future generations are relying on us to leave a lasting positive impact on the planet.
Bringing more younger people into TidyTowns is important for our future. That is why I am excited when I see some of our plans in SuperValu to launch a school’s programme, which highlights the importance of biodiversity to our communities and the direct link to TidyTowns. Collectively we have many challenges and opportunities in Ireland to make the way we live more sustainable for all.
This starts at home, right on our doorstep. The inspiring thing about SuperValu TidyTowns is seeing so many people passionate about their local area, making small changes which collectively add up to a big impact.
It could be creating wild areas to encourage biodiversity, or adding bug and bee houses to support pollinators. It could be clearing litter or encouraging recycling – whatever it is, it all makes a difference and inspires all of us to take more pride in the place we live.
It was fantastic to celebrate the 2021 winners of SuperValu TidyTowns last month, their awards were incredibly well deserved. This year, with the pandemic keeping people apart for so long, coming together as a community has had much more meaning for people.
So, congratulations to the winners and everyone who entered or got involved, because your actions have made a big difference.