CoWork plus- Connected Donegal Communities officially launched in Donegal.

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A new Donegal Co-working project, CoWork plus- Connected Donegal Communities, was officially launched on Friday last by Minister for Education Joe Mc Hugh TD in the Base Centre, Stranorlar.

The exciting new European project, which also has a Cooperation Transnational Theme, CoLabora, was recently funded under LEADER to the tune of €160,340 and will see four local community organisations in Donegal participate in a training programme in cooperation with five other European partners across Europe including from France, Spain, Germany, Wales and Latvia.

The four Donegal participants include: 1. An Craoibhín, Termon www.craoibhintermon.ie 2. The Base, Stranorlar, www.thebaseenterprise.ie

3. Bundoran Community Centre, Bundoran, 4. Spraoi agus Spórt, Carndonagh www.spraoiagussport.ie

Speaking at the launch, Minister Mc Hugh in his address, emphasised the importance of cooperation and collaboration in helping to sustain local rural communities.

He said: “Initiatives like co-working are essential to help sustain and grow rural communities. More and more we are hearing about companies offering remote and flexible working and these practices will soon become the norm as companies see the benefit in having staff in the regions, close to their customers and importantly close to their families and cutting down commute and journey times; time that can be better spent getting the job done. I wish all those involved in the project the very best of luck and I hope that it will provide a really beneficial experience for other co-working units and hubs to be developed.”

The launch also had a national flavour with guest speakers Julianne O’Leary, Guinness Enterprise Centre, Tomás Ó Síocháin, Western Development Commission, Tracey Keogh, Founder, Grow Remote, all contributing to the event. Other local speakers included Kieran Doherty, BASICC, Padraic Fingleton, Donegal Local Development Clg, Brenda Hegarty, Local Enterprise Office, with the four local community organisations represented by Leah Fairman and Maria Gallo, The BASE, Michael Travers, Bundoran Community Centre, Helen Nolan, Spraoi agus Spórt, Carndonagh and Noleen Treaty, Craoibhín Ionad Pobail & Fiontar, Termon

The overall project will set out to develop Co-working spaces while also promoting the economic benefits of creating such spaces in rural areas. In so doing, a greater understanding of best practice, both in terms of both setting up and running co-working spaces, will be reached.

The project objectives are:

1. Stimulation of economic development and innovation in the rural region of Donegal.

2. Retention of the existing rural population.

3. To attract new people from urban areas to the county.

4. To attract new co-workers into existing co-working spaces

5. Overall improvement of quality of life for inhabitants: a better professional/personal life balance.

Immediate outcomes include the provision of three new coworking spaces in Termon, Bundoran and Carndonagh over the next six months with the hope that enough space can be provided for about 45 people.

The units will operate in partnership with the established BASE Centre in Stranorlar along with the establishment of a Donegal-branded Coworking Network.

There are many advantages to being a member of the network. For example, one such partner, The Guinness Enterprise Centre, Dublin, – will provide space to Donegal members for meetings they may be attending in Dublin. But there are many more including enhanced networking and collaborative opportunities between spaces both nationally and internationally.

This project is supported by: Donegal LCDC, Donegal County Council, LEADER, DLDC and the Department of Rural & Community Development through grant aid received under The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in Ireland 2014- 2020 “Europe investing in rural areas