Case Study

Quigleys Point Community Playgroup

Cabry, Quigleys Point, Co. Donegal

Crockahenny Windfarm, Co. Donegal


Project type: various projects in community centre

Quigley’s Point Community Playgroup is the only child care service in the local area. It delivers a play-based curriculum and provides a safe, challenging and stimulating environment where children feel valued, grow and gain in confidence, self-esteem and independence.

The group used Windfarm Community Benefit funds to enhance their offering by investing in a living Willow Dome and Toy Tool Bench and Builders Kit for use outdoors.

Specifically, the dome is made from living willow structures which grow over time. The dome was planted in winter 2016 and in spring 2017, the structure blossomed to become a secret playhouse to encourage imaginative play for the playschool children. In addition, a toy tool bench and builders kit has enriched children’s outdoor play experience at community playgroup.  

How many people benefited (directly or indirectly) from the grant?

Children ages two and a half to five years of age in the local community. In total thirty children benefitted in 2017 and twenty two children in 2018. The dome is a natural structure and with good upkeep, its growth  in the community playgroup play area will be sustained for many years to come.

What is different in peoples’ lives as a result of this project?

Outdoor exercise is extremely beneficial and enriching to pre-schoolers’ development. The investment in outdoor play equipment has helped to ensure that children at the playgroup avail of fresh air on a daily basis, regardless of the weather. Planting the living willow structure has also encouraged learning about the outdoors and how to care for and maintain living plants.

What unforeseen difficulties (not related to funding), if any, were encountered and how were they overcome?

The playgroup encountered hard rock ground when planting the willow dome. The rock was difficult to penetrate and for a period of time, it put the viability of the project in jeopardy. Due to the nature of the soil, it was not guaranteed that the dome would thrive, or indeed survive.

What were the key lessons learned?

  1. A key lesson was managing application process and expectations of what could be funded.
  2. The group learned to prioritise their needs, be selective and prepared to make hard decisions when not all items were possible.
  3. As a community playgroup, the group are very ambitious to offer the best to children. Increasingly, the group is planning and managing the time and effort and expectations about what’s possible to invest in.  

What were the highlights of your project?

A highlight of the project is seeing the willow buds come into bloom each Spring. On a daily basis, children bring the dome to life either as play space or a space for themselves to avail of some quiet time in a natural environment.

‘’Our playgroup really benefits from such funding. As a community group we often have  little or  no budget  left after the basics  of wages, light, heat, and cleaning essentials, are paid for. This fund allows us to invest in resources and tools that make a real difference to every child’s experience and enjoyment at the playgroup.’’

Aideen Tighe, Quigley’s Point Community Playgroup.



Facebook News

LEADER Food Initiative for Artisan, Micro and Small Food Producers

€15 million has been allocated nationally by the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Dept of Rural and Community Development to the LEADER Food Initiative (Rural Development Programme 2014-2020). Expressions of Interest and full applications are now being accepted.

This initiative aims to support new and existing food and beverage producers to address emerging challenges through investment in areas such as (1) market development, (2) competitiveness, and (3) innovation.

Support for food producers, may include, but is not limited to, the following:
• Artisan, Micro and Small food producers, including those with a focus on collaborative proposals, aimed at production quality and market issues;
• Regional product development, including a focus on marketing distinctive local foodstuffs;
• Marketing and processing for strategically identified sectors, including honey and apple processors;
• Improved marketing, product quality and business skills through support for innovative collaborative processes and so address challenges to co-operation identified in studies on facilitating short supply chains e.g. entry barriers, the need for shared understanding, skills/training, and marketing and business skills deficits.

How to apply
Applications are managed through the LEADER LAGs with applications being processed by the LEADER Implementing partners and recommendations made by the LCDC’s to the DAFM and DRCD. Qualifying projects seeking between €5,000 and €200,000 in grant aid are eligible to apply.

The Implementing Partner for LEADER / LEADER Food in South and West Cork is SECAD Partnership CLG.

For further Information and to make an Application


Ross Curley (West Cork based projects)


Katie Kearns (South Cork based food projects)

Contact SECAD on 021-4613432
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SECAD Partnership CLG
Midleton Community Enterprise Centre, Owennacurra Business Park,
Knockgriffin, Midleton, Co. Cork, P25 Y893

+353 21 4613432