10 Social, Community and Cultural Development
Community facilities are vital to the life of the county. Schools and other educational facilities, libraries, churches and other places of worship, crèches, youth clubs, meeting spaces, cultural centres (such as Kilkenny Arts office and the Butler Gallery), health centres, primary care centres, hospitals and social service centres, all help to maintain and nurture a sense of community as well as providing for the educational, cultural, social and health needs of citizens. Similarly a diverse range of recreation and open space facilities such as sports pitches, public parks, indoor sports centres (like the Watershed), and walking and cycling routes, are vital to the health and wellbeing of the residents of the county.
Kilkenny has a range of high quality open space, recreational and community facilities provided by the public, private and voluntary sectors. However there continues to be a need for additional facilities and improvements to existing resources to raise standards and serve an expanding population.
Older people need to be catered for and the inclusion of the needs of the older citizen should be central to any good community policy.
- Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP)
Under the Local Government Reform Act 2014, each Local Authority was directed to set up a Local Community Development Committee (LCDC). The LCDC was established for the purpose of developing, coordinating and implementing a coherent and integrated approach to local and community development in the county. The LCDC has responsibility for the preparation of a 6 year Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP), which in Kilkenny covers the term 2016-2021. The LECP sets out economic and community objectives that will promote and support the economic development and the local and community development of the County. It addresses a wider range of community issues, including developing infrastructure to address social exclusion, poverty and disadvantage, reverse social and economic decline and to realise growth potential and the sustainability of communities.
- Education and Childcare
Educational facilities have an important role to play in developing sustainable and balanced communities. The Council will continue to work with the Department of Education and other stakeholders in the provision of educational facilities, at primary, secondary and third level. The provision of childcare facilities is an important factor for economic and social wellbeing. Quality childcare can also make a significant contribution to healthy development in the early years of a child’s life. While the Council is not directly involved in the provision of childcare services, the Development Plan should ensure that sufficient facilities are provided particularly in newly developing areas and sustained where possible in existing towns and villages.
Healthcare and medical facilities are provided by public, private and voluntary agencies within the County. The primary role of Kilkenny County Council in relation to healthcare is to ensure that there is an adequate policy framework in place and that healthcare facilities are permitted subject to good planning practice.
- Nursing Homes/Residential care
For people in need of residential care for any number of reasons, the location of facilities is extremely important. Nursing homes and residential care homes should be integrated wherever possible into the residential areas of towns and villages where residents and staff can avail of reasonable access to local services.
- Social Inclusion
Social inclusion is about the wellbeing of individuals, families, social groups and communities. Creating a more socially inclusive society by alleviating social exclusion, poverty and deprivation is a major challenge. The Development Plan has a role in facilitating such initiatives through promoting good placemaking, for example ensuring new developments are designed with good connectivity and permeability for all. Social inclusion will be a cross cutting theme within the new Development Plan.
- The Arts
Culture is one of the main elements in a city's identity. Culture is a key factor in attracting people to live, work and visit and is an essential ingredient in local place‐making and quality of life for its citizens. Kilkenny’s Arts Office continues to develop, co‐ordinate, motivate, inspire, strengthen and cultivate the arts sector throughout the county. All of our activities serve as an investment for the community, the local economy, and the tourism and heritage sector. The Development Plan has a role in terms of continuing to explore possibilities for the development of further cultural facilities across the county and to encourage the creative sector to continue to contribute to the prosperity of the County.
There are a total of 9 libraries around the county (Callan, Castlecomer, Ferrybank, Graiguenamanagh, Loughboy, John’s Green (Local Studies), John’s Quay, Thomastown, & Urlingford).
h. Fire Service
There are 7 fire stations throughout the County in Callan, Castlecomer, Freshford, Graiguenamanagh, Thomastown, Urlingford and Kilkenny.