Back in Autumn 2013, a group of local business owners decided to join together to try and improve their town and encourage the residents of Graignamnagh to support and shop local. The first meeting was held in the local Scout Hall in November 2013 and from that Love Graig was born.
A committee was formed that night with the original sole objective being to focus on Christmas’13 in the town and how could we encourage people to shop local. Throughout December, we held a number of events in the town such as a Santa Run, a Christmas Market, and a Town Raffle to name just a few. Many of the businesses also held in store events such as a Christmas club with Santa, Cookery demonstration and local supplier tastings, Sunday special offers etc.
Based on the positive feedback we got from the locals we decided to continue as a group and over subsequent meetings in the New Year, a number of objectives were identified. As well as driving business within the community we began to look at tourism and how we could grow this industry in Graiguenamanagh & Tinnahinch.
Our first objective was to grow a community fund where money could then be re-invested back into the community. Split the Pot was already underway in a number of neighbouring towns and the idea was brought to us by local man and committee member Jim Butler. The success of this initiative is solely down to the fantastic support from the local community. Since this kicked off in July ’14, in just over a year we have given out over €50k in prizes to locals.
In 2014/2015 we carried out a number of large scale projects. The first of these was to purchase new Christmas lights for the town. We spent almost €10k on lighting the town up for the month of December….we even had a floating Christmas tree on the river!
This project couldn’t have been a bigger success with locals claiming the Christmas spirit was palpable!
Our next project was to open up our Discover Graig tourism office. This was opened up in Summer 2015 with a great amount of support from Kilkenny Leader Partnership through Alison Allen, who is also part of the Love Graig family. The office is manned 7 days a week during the high season and 5 days a week in low season and acts as a hub for tourists coming into the town.
Next on the list was the Main Street. Kilkenny County Council had completed the extensive Main Street Renewal Scheme so we decided we wanted to cover the street in flowers! We first contracted a company to power wash the entire Main Street, this was supported by Kilkenny County Council also. Once that was finished we set about hanging up almost 200 hanging baskets around the town.
As you can see we are working very hard to improve all aspects of our town. Our town is a jewel in the crown of Co. Kilkenny and we want to make sure that people who visit love it as much as we do!