The Power of Community
Back February 2013, a group of residents got together to discuss how to make their community a better place to live and the South Limerick City Residents Association was formed. Like many parts of Limerick City, cleaners had been relieved of their duties in the area by the council and, despite constant requests for bins and dog litter bins, they found themselves realising that if they wanted anything done, they would have to do it themselves. So began a series of Monday night clean-ups, meeting at the back of St. Joseph’s Church on O’Connell Avenue, the group would head out, armed with rubbish pickers, brooms (provided by the local council), and plastic bags. They collected rubbish, regular stuff and the not so safe stuff like needles and condoms, left strewn about in lane-ways and alleys for anyone, usually an unsuspecting child, to pick up. Some passersby called them crazy but they persisted; they just wanted to make the place they called home a better place to live. They had a long to do list; dog litter had to be addressed and a team walked about spraying the ‘messages’ left by irresponsible owners and slowly but surely the dog litter seemed to, quite literally, dry up. Next on the agenda were gum, litter, beer cans, and sacks of rubbish being dumped in lane-ways. Then having received a lot of free paint from Dulux the painting began; they set to work transforming Schoolhouse Lane and the adjacent lane-way. What were once graffiti-covered, unwelcoming streets to be avoided are now brightly coloured and filled with plants, flowers grow where there was once only broken glass and more pedestrian traffic than ever before. Of course that’s magic, but the real magic is something you can’t see or take a picture of. These people have created a community; neighbours who were once just acquaintances have now become friends, young and old mingle, jokes are flying, they now have a support, a village and a home outside of their own front door. How many people can say that in this modern world? The group has big dreams: they want to delve into the area’s history and bring old, important pieces of history back to life though street art and films. They would love a green space to start a community garden where young and old get to learn growing skills share an open space and a community hub, a place to get together on chilly days and nights. This group is an example of how a community can take control of their everyday lives and make things better. You can’t put a price tag on the Power of Community. For more info see www.facebook.com/SouthLimerickCityResidentsAssociation.