Finalists: Digital Changemaker
Ballyvaughan – Digitising outdoor recreation
Ballyvaughan focussed on integrating the digital world (Strava) and the physical world (popular cycling hill climbs) into a project to enhance the cycling experience for users and attract a new audience to the area. These are the first physical Strava segments in Europe. It integrates a citizen science element to projects to encourage interaction between trail users and the wider community. The Trail photo posts allow walkers to send photos and feedback trail issues. They can also check the gallery on the website for their photos. They embraced IoT and new technologies and integrated them into existing projects to attract a new audience.
The Strava hill signs and digital photo posts add an element of gamification to the cycling routes and walking trails respectively. All the above projects are relatively cheap (Strava signs €2200 for 6 signs, Digital photo posts €2800 for 8 posts and website upgrade) and gained a large return on investment via positive media coverage. The projects are easily replicable, and they have assisted other groups in copying their projects.
Portumna – Sustainability through digital
The Wild Geese is a community group, conceived in Portumna, actively trying to solve the challenges faced by the rural towns, villages, and communities in East Galway, on their knees long before the pandemic. New ways of working are now opening up to local communities, people are actively searching for sustainable towns to live, work and participate locally. The Wild Geese work closely with the European Union on Climate Crisis stewardship, education and awareness campaigns. They are hoping to be appointed Climate Change Ambassadors in the near future, which will mean they will be supported with digital assets to promote climate action in more practical ways within the community responding to the crisis from the ground up.
As digital changemakers they are forensically capturing the DNA of the town – by speaking to the Expert Citizen – the people who live in the community and actually know the importance of local heritage, the traditions of their place with generations of oral histories coursing through their veins. Using modern digital tools to gather and document research undertaken, they are confident they will have saved these voices for generations to come.
Kinsale – Digital Hub
Kinsale digital hub is a communal workspace in the picturesque town of Kinsale, Co. Cork and was set up to counteract rural depopulation and keep the local community vibrant and busy.
It has high speed connectivity and can accommodate up to 15 people in its main workspace, a conference room and private work areas. They want to get the word out there so people know that they can still progress in their career and live their dream rural life.
Skibbereen – The Ludgate Hub
The Ludgate Hub was the first to create a digital working hub in Ireland. In 2014 the team had a vision – to see the area thrive in a sustainable manner. The dream became a reality in 2016 putting Skibbereen on the global stage as the first rural town with 1GB digital connectivity.
To expand on the stellar foundation that has been built to date their medium to long term vision is to make the town and surrounding areas a hotspot for technology start-ups, solopreneurs, remote workers, Digital nomads, and multinationals to locate. By attracting these people it is estimated that between 500-1000 jobs will be created and be a key component of rural regeneration via a sustainable digital economy for the town.