LOUGH Gur in County Limerick has been announced as the fourth ‘Sound Town’ winner of 2020, following incredible work carried out by the community to create a positive movement for those that needed it most during Covid-19.
For the people of Lough Gur, protecting their most vulnerable during the lockdown restrictions was a top priority. This issue inspired them to come up with a plan to lift everyone’s spirits and bring the community closer together.
Jean Lyons was among a small group of volunteers who decided to put together a weekly newsletter for cocooners, so that everyone in the town could keep up to speed with how they were coping.
Each week, the local priest Father Eddie, undertook a Facebook Live on ‘Lough Gur Community’ page announcing the next person to be featured in the newsletter. One cocooner was randomly selected each week to tell the town about their life and their experiences living in Lough Gur.
“It’s been a really interesting experience,” says Jean, who has lived in the town her entire life. “I knew most of the people cocooning as I was growing up, and I didn’t know these stories; I learned so much about the people in my community.”
The popular newsletter also contains recipes and a crossword competition, with local businesses showing their community spirit by donating competition prizes. There is a section dedicated to congratulating people in the town on any recent achievements, too, from birthdays, to exam results, to anniversaries.
A volunteer group would then hand deliver the newsletters to the cocooners and spend time talking to them. Sometimes the newsletter even comes with special treats! On one particular weekend the community even covered the cost of a lovely Sunday lunch from a local restaurant for all the cocooners. The initiative has been such a success that Jean says they plan to keep it going even after the pandemic.
Commenting on the announcement of Lough Gur winning the Sound Town award, Today FM’s Weekend Breakfast presenter Alison Curtis said; “Cocooning during the lockdown restrictions was a lonely and difficult time for a lot of us, but the people of Lough Gur managed to use this crisis to learn more about each other.
“During what could have been a period of extreme isolation, this community came together more than ever before. We are delighted to present them with the fourth Sound Town award of the year, for their inspirational efforts.” she said.
‘Sound Town’ is a Today FM and Cadbury Ireland initiative, which aims to shine a light on what makes Irish communities so unique, by awarding a ‘Sound Town’ status to communities that embody generosity, kindness and general soundness.
Throughout the year, monthly winning towns are selected by Today FM’s Weekend Breakfast presenter Alison Curtis and are awarded with an official ‘Sound Town’ plaque. Each monthly winning town will be shortlisted for a chance to win €10,000 when the overall 2020 Sound Town winner is announced at the end of the year.
Speaking about the Sound Town initiative, Senior Brand Manager with Cadbury Ireland, Tricia Burke said; “We are delighted to partner with Today FM’s Weekend Breakfast once again this year to bring the Sound Town initiative to life.
“Seeing the people of Lough Gur keeping in touch with each other in such a creative and fun way is proof that Ireland’s reputation for incredible community spirit is well deserved.
“Everyday generosity is what the Sound Town award is all about – and Lough Gur really earned it. On behalf of Cadbury Ireland, I’d like to congratulate everyone in Lough Gur for their efforts and wish them well in continuing their fantastic community newsletter in the future.” she added.
For further details on Today FM and Cadbury Ireland’s Sound Town initiative and how you can enter your town, tune into ‘Weekend Breakfast with Alison Curtis’, every Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 11 am, or go to www.todayfm.com.