The Clonakilty Community Bike Scheme launched last June was awarded the ‘Overall Best Community Project’ at the annual Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland (SEAI) awards in Dublin last week.
Tom O’ Donovan of O’Donovan’s Hotel and Michael O’Neill of Fernhill House Hotel accepted the award on behalf of the Bike Scheme in the presence of Brian McSwiney of Sustainable Clonakilty, who nominated the Bike Scheme for the award.
Sustainable Clonakilty was a partner organisation in helping to set up the Clon Bike Scheme last June. Around 70 white bikes are dispersed at 10 hotels in Clonakilty, Inchydoney, Dunmore, Rosscarbery and Courtmacsherry and at the Model Village. Over 500 people have joined the scheme for €20 per year, which entitles them to use the bikes free for one hour as often as they like. Local milk production company Clóna Dairies came in at the outset as major sponsors of the scheme as well.
The idea was first mooted by Tom O’ Donovan who lobbied fellow hoteliers to get involved and the idea received much goodwill and community support in the Clonakilty area, and the scheme was launched by the local Mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin in June.
A delighted Tom O’ Donovan stated, “We are elated at receiving this national award and recognition which is like winning an All Ireland title. Since it was launched in June, the Bike Scheme provides low cost, short-period rental of bicycles to the local community and tourists, and despite a poor summer weatherwise, the bikes got great use. Around 500 people have signed up in the first five months.
“I want to thank all my fellow hotel colleagues in the area who administer the scheme at their reception desks via a website to track each bike. It is a great tribute to the people of Clonakilty that we have only lost one helmet to date and there has been no damage to the 70 bikes!”