€10,000 has been made available to community groups in Clare to host the country’s first National Community Weekend in their area.

The Big Hello, a Government initiative, takes place over the May bank holiday weekend and Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey is encouraging community and residents groups across the county to apply for funding to host an event.

“The National Community Weekend aims to strengthen community ties and tackle social isolation and is being funded through the Department of Rural and Community Development, Deputy Carey explained.

”Its primary purpose is to foster and develop the unique community spirit that drives much of the social interaction across the county. ‘The Big Hello’ is being organised in partnership with representatives of Public Participation Networks, Local Community Development Companies, Volunteer Ireland, Young Social Innovators, Macra na Feirme, Street Feast, An tOireachtas and Change X.

“Clare County Council has been allocated €10,000 as part of ‘The Big Hello’ and I strongly encourage local groups to apply. Applications are welcome from community and voluntary groups, organisations and residents’ committees.

“In a world where people are spending less time in their communities and more time at work, it is important to find new ways to connect people and focus on the importance of neighbours.