South Kerry Business enjoys success at ILDN Regional Awards

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K&T Bakery, based in Cahersiveen was this week chosen as one of the three representatives from the Southern Region to go forward to the national finals of the ILDN Enterprise Awards in September. The business which was supported by South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. (SKDP) through the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme (BTWEA), currently employ 15 people in addition to themselves in the business and expect to expand this number further in the coming year. It has been in operation since October 2014 and currently sells directly to the public and also supplies some local businesses.

Business owner Katarzyna Gwis, who is running the bakery along with her husband Tom, said they were delighted and very surprised to get the award. “There was really strong competition from the other 12 businesses in the Southern region so we did not expect to be selected” she said. Katarzyna said that she feels the business will benefit from the award as the publicity will help get the business known to many more people. She said they are now looking forward to taking part in the national final in Dublin in September.

Speaking following the awards ceremony which was held in Cork, SKDP CEO Noel Spillane congratulated business owner Katarzyna Gwis on her success to date and said he hoped they will go on now to win the overall award in September. “This business is an excellent example of the success achieved by many such small businesses in South Kerry supported by SKDP” Noel said. He added that the BTWEA, administered in the region by SKDP on behalf of the Department of Social Protection, has provided significant opportunities for unemployed people with business ideas to take the first step in developing their own enterprises. “Such small enterprises are the back bone of rural areas such as South Kerry in terms of providing long term employment and it is fantastic that the hard work and success of businesses such as K&T Bakery is recognised though this awards programme” he said.

SKDP was also represented at the event by James Sheehan of James’ Barber Shop based in Killorglin while NEWKD were represented by Maura Sheehy of Maura’s Flowers and Doireann Barrett of the Gluten Free Kitchen Company.

This is the first year of the Enterprise Awards programme developed by the Irish Local Development Network to recognise the contribution made by small businesses throughout the country and to highlight the support provided to such businesses by Local Partnership Companies.


South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. Welcomes Greenway Maintenance Scheme

The decision by Kerry County Council to put a maintenance scheme in place to provide payments to landowners to undertake maintenance work along the proposed South Kerry Greenway has been welcomed by South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. (SKDP).

The proposed scheme, which will be administered by SKDP, will see landowners along the route securing a minimum payment of €300 a year with an additional €2 per meter of greenway they will maintain. It is estimated that the average payment to landowners will be in the region of €600 a year. The work will include strimming, keeping the route free of litter and ensuring gates are kept closed to ensure animals do not cause a hazard on the route. Landowners will also inspect the route and maintain fencing, gates and trail furniture regularly to ensure they are not damaged so as to help ensure the greenway is maintained to the highest standards.

Speaking after the announcement of the maintenance scheme, SKDP CEO Noel Spillane said that he was delighted that it had been put in place. “This is something we would have favoured and recommended from the outset of this proposed project in order to help deliver economic benefit from it directly to the landowners” Noel said. “We already administer a similar scheme along the Kerry Way and part of the Beara Way and it has proven to be hugely beneficial in terms of both ensuring the walking trails are maintained to the highest standards possible but in also helping deliver a direct economic benefit to the landowners who maintain the routes.

Just over 170 landowners could benefit from the new maintenance scheme but Noel Spillane pointed out that it will operate on a voluntary basis and there is no obligation on the landowners to sign up for it. “If they choose not to participate then SKDP will undertake the work on those sections instead” he said pointing out that Kerry County Council will have responsibility for all structural related work and replacement of fencing and trail furniture along the proposed route if required. “All participating landowners will be provided with training and the necessary materials to undertake the maintenance of the route and will be fully covered by insurance.  Every effort will be made by SKDP to keep the maintenance scheme as farm friendly as possible” Noel noted.

Noel Spillane appealed to those landowners opposed to the CPO process to reconsider their position in view of the proposed maintenance scheme and also given the economic importance of the project to the South Kerry area. “A thorough consultation process by Kerry County Council, supported by SKDP failed to secure the agreement of all landowners required so unfortunately Kerry County Council have no alternative but to proceed with the CPO process if the Greenway is to proceed” Noel concluded.


Foot in the Door event proves hugely popular

There is strong interest in securing potential jobs in the hospitality sector if the turnout at a “Foot in the Door” event in Killarney last week is anything to go by. The event organised by South Kerry Skillnet was aimed at providing people with an interest in taking up employment in the sector with information as to the types of jobs and opportunities available. In addition, those attending were informed as to the possible training opportunities that are available to them in order to develop relevant skills. Speakers at the event held in the Killarney Plaza Hotel included representatives from the industry as well as the training sector and those present were also addressed by a recent Skillnet training programme graduate Sam Donnelly from Killarney. Attendees were also given demonstrations in some of the key basic skills required by employees in the hospitality sector.

South Kerry Skillnet Manager Aoife O’Reilly said she was delighted with the turnout and the interest being shown by jobseekers in hospitality sector given there is strong demand within the sector for employees with the right skills. “All of the recent graduates on our Skillnet training course secured jobs and some of the employers who attended this Foot in the Door event had jobs available for people who had relevant skills” Aoife said. She added that she would like to thank all of the speakers at the event.

One of those who have secured employment following the Skillnet Training course, Sam Donnelly said that he would recommend such a training course to anyone. “To be honest, I was not really interested when I started out on the course but as it went on I really started to enjoy it”. “It gave me the chance to learn a lot of new skills such as bar tendering and it also showed me that there are real chances to go on and get new skills to develop a career in the sector” Sam said. He added that he now hopes to get further education and training while continuing to work so that he can go on and further his career in the hotel sector in particular.

Aoife O’Reilly added that they hoped to run further training courses either later this year or early next year given the strong demand for staff.


Kerry Local Development Companies choose Enterprise Awards winners

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The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015-2017 is funded by the Irish Government and co-funded by the European Social Fund and includes a special allocation under the Youth Employment Initiative.

Four Kerry businesses were this week selected to represent Kerry at the Munster regional competition phase of the Irish Local Development Companies Network national enterprises awards competition. The businesses, two representing South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. and two representing North, East & West Kerry Development, were chosen from an overall entry of circa 40 businesses from across the county in what is the first year of the competition. The South Kerry winners were James’ Barber Shop and K&T Bakery while the North Kerry winners were Maura’s Flowers and The Gluten Free Kitchen. All of the businesses who entered were set up since 2011 with assistance from the Local Development Companies through the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection.

Welcoming everyone to the event, SKDP CEO Noel Spillane stressed the importance of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme in providing unemployed people with the opportunity to set up their own businesses. What clearly came across from the applications received for tonight’s awards was the importance of the BTWEA/SEA funding in providing what many applicants termed as a ‘safety net’ as they established their businesses ” he said. Noel added that these small businesses were the backbone of the economy of regions such as Kerry and it is vital that they are given all the support possible to help them succeed.

Maurice Lawlor of the Department of Social Protection described the event as a celebration of the businesses involved pointing out that the entrepreneurs that set them up took big risks and should be recognised for their courage in taking the step from unemployment into starting their own businesses. “The overall Social Welfare Budget is circa €20bn a year and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance programme is a very valued part of this spending” he said. Maurice also noted that large locally owned businesses already exist in Kerry which proves there is opportunity for these smaller enterprises to grow. “I would encourage people to recognise the potential of the businesses they have started and to think bigger & better” he said.

NEWKD CEO Eamonn O’Reilly congratulated all the businesses who took part in the event and said that he was sure the award winners would represent Kerry very well in the next stages of the national competition. “It is great to see the families of the business owners here tonight also and the support of both family and friends is very important to these new businesses when they are getting up and running” Eamonn said. He also encouraged the businesses present to take the opportunity to network with each other saying that some of them were involved in complementary business areas and could potentially work together in the future.

The national final of the competition is due to take place in Dublin in September.

The BTWEA/SEA schemes are funded by the Dept. of Social Protection and the Local Development Companies are supported by the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) in rolling out the schemes.

South Kerry Winner K&M Bakery Cahersiveen with SKDP CEO Noel Spillane, Chairperson Sheila Casey & Enterprise Officers Joanne Griffin & Anne O'Riordan
South Kerry Winner K&M Bakery Cahersiveen with SKDP CEO Noel Spillane, Chairperson Sheila Casey & Enterprise Officers Joanne Griffin & Anne O’Riordan
South Kerry winner James Sheehan, Killorglin with SKDP CEO Noel Spillane, Chairperson Sheila Casey and Enterprise Officers Joanne Griffin & Anne O'Riordan
South Kerry winner James Sheehan, Killorglin with SKDP CEO Noel Spillane, Chairperson Sheila Casey and Enterprise Officers Joanne Griffin & Anne O’Riordan


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Interested in a Job in the Hospitality Sector??

South Kerry Skillnet is hosting a Foot in the Door Event for people who may be interested in securing a career in the Hospitality Sector. The event aims to provide participants with an understanding of the opportunities that are available in the industry as well details on how to acquire the relevant skills. Some employers will have jobs available at the event for people who already have relevant skills.

Date: Thursday 5th May

Location: Killarney Plaza Hotel

Time: 9.30am to 1.30pm

Cost: FREE OF CHARGE (Please register in advance)

For Full Details please click Foot in the Door Event Brochure


Enterprise Awards 2016 – Enter Now

Download the Application Form:      LDC Enterprise Awards Application Form 2016

Kerry enterprises that have set up their businesses with assistance from the local development companies & Dept. of Social Protection through the Back to Work Area Enterprise Allowance Scheme (BTWEA) are being offered the opportunity to get national recognition for their efforts through a newly launched Enterprise Awards programme.

South Kerry Development Partnership and North East & West Kerry Development have this week launched a bid to find four candidate enterprises to represent the county at the Southern Regional Enterprise Awards event with the potential to progress right through and claim the overall national Enterprise award.

Speaking at the launch of the Kerry event this week, SKDP CEO Noel Spillane said the awards, which are being run in conjunction with the Irish Local Development Network, provide an excellent opportunity for Kerry to showcase the many successful new enterprises that have been set up in the county with support of the local development companies & the Dept. of Social Protection through the BTWEA over the last few years. “We regularly hear about business closures but this awards programme gives us a chance to celebrate business success and recognise the hard work and vision of small enterprise owners in Kerry” Noel said.

Both SKDP and NEWKD operate the Back to Work/Short Term Enterprise Allowance scheme in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection that provides support, advice and some small grant assistance to unemployed people wishing to set up their own business. The scheme has proven to be a tremendous success with a high percentage of the businesses set up through the programme still operating after 5 years. NEWKD CEO Eamon O’Reilly said that this new awards initiative is open to businesses set up through this scheme since 2011 and he encouraged all eligible businesses to enter the competition. “These businesses are the backbone of rural Ireland in particular and we are delighted to be involved with this initiative to promote them at a regional and national level” Eamon said.

The closing date for applications is Friday, 29th April and the application form is available to download from both the SKDP ( and NEWKD ( websites or by contacting your local SKDP or NEWKD office directly. The national awards ceremony will take place in Dublin in September.


Kerry Way Folklore & Heritage App Launched

CEO of Sport Ireland John Treacy was in Kerry on Friday last to launch the first phase of the Kerry Way Folklore & Heritage App.  Covering the section of the Kerry Way between Killarney and Glencar, the app has been developed by the Kerry Folklore Committee – Béaloideas Chiarraí group made up of representatives of SKDP, KCC Heritage Section, Trustees of Muckross and the DSP. Funding support for its development came through LEADER and the INERREG Rural Alliances project from SKDP, The Heritage Council and Kerry Group. The app itself features information on more than 20 points of interest and includes audio clips of interviews with residents of the Black Valley and Glencar. The launch took place in Lord Brandon’s Cottage in the Black Valley.

Speaking at the launch, Béaloideas Chiarraí-Kerry Folklore Chairman Johnny Porridge O’Connor said that this app will hopefully enhance the attractiveness of the Kerry Way to a broader audience. “This app will provide people with a unique insight into the cultural and heritage sites along the Kerry Way walking route while also giving them an insight into what life was like in the region in past years” Johnny said. He also thanked John Treacy for coming down to launch the app on behalf of the committee.

Sport Irelands CEO John Treacy welcomed the development of the app and said that he also hoped it would encourage many more people to go out and walk the route. “Ireland clearly has an issue with obesity and an initiative such as this that has the potential to get more people out walking and exercising should be greatly welcomed” he said. John Treacy added that he was hugely impressed with the quality of the app and praised the work of Béaloideas Chiarraí in developing it.

CEO Noel Spillane said that SKDP were delighted to support the development of the app and he hoped it would add significantly to the economy of the area through bringing in greater numbers of visitors. “This initiative will help enable the visitor to get immersed in the region and provide them with the type of unique experience they are now seeking” Noel said.

Martin Mitchel of the DSP praised the work of all involved, particularly those participants on the CE scheme who assisted in populating the information on the app while Oliver Ring of KCC said that they would not be found wanting in assisting to roll this out to the other stages of the Kerry way.

Padraig Mallon of Kerry Group said that they were also delighted to support the development of the app and congratulated all involved in its development.

The app is currently available on android and will shortly be available for apple. It can be downloaded through scanning the QR code available on promotional material or going to the supporting website .