Students helping to change the face of Longford town

Transition Year (TY) students at Mean Scoil Mhuire and St. Mel’s College have been putting their heads together and coming up with innovative ideas as to how certain streets in Longford town may be improved.

Transition Year (TY) students at Mean Scoil Mhuire and St. Mel’s College have been putting their heads together and coming up with innovative ideas as to how certain streets in Longford town may be improved.

Feeding into an overall Area Enhancement Plan for Longford town, the students have been focusing on Ballymahon Street, Killashee Street, Dublin Street, New Street, Convent Road, and Breaden’s Lane.

“In Mean Scoil Mhuire we have a committee called ‘Young Social Innovators’, a group of ten students who are a mixture of Fifth and Transition Years,” said Mary Killian, a teacher at the convent. “They (and the transition years in general) took the (project) on board and they made suggestions for improvements on particular streets.”

The students at both schools undertook surveys of different businesses in the town, and took photographs of the relevant streets. These photographs were supervised by their tutor, Shelley Corcoran.

St Mel’s College, who focused on Ballymahon Street, Killashee Street and Bog Lane, came up with ideas for the use of open spaces.

“In Bog Lane there’s a spot where there could be a bandstand for buskers. There’s also a wall that could be used for murals,” said Séadna MacCasarlaigh (16) of St. Mel’s College.

He continued: “It was also suggested that we empty the bins more frequently and to refurbish shops, and use empty shop windows for advertising.”

Felicia Olusanya (16), Scoil Mhuire, feels that the project is a great way to advance change in Longford.

“It was a great opportunity to work together,” she said. “We realised (from the surveys) that business people want to upgrade their shops. People were also talking about the range of shops available in Longford and the need to fill vacant shops.”

According to Felicia, the next step is to make these changes a reality.

“We need to make these changes happen. The local authorities need to hear our voice and recognise our efforts and put these things into action,” she said.

Ms Killian, who teaches Home Economics, Biology and Junior Science at Mean Scoil Mhuire, thanked other students for their input, including the second years at the school who assisted with the surveys.

Ruth McGarry Quinn (Attic Café and Torc) was also thanked for her contribution to the project, as were St. Mel’s teachers Trudy Farrell and Maura Mulvihill, and Pauric Cullen of County Longford Fire Services.

The Longford Area Enhancement Plan, which is being compiled by a number of sub-committees throughout Longford town, will be condensed into a document which will be submitted to Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL). It is then hoped that the latter will assign funding to allow elements of this plan become a reality.