Using community-led planning to map the steps for building future community sustainability


This project developed a five-year Community Plan to support the sustainable development of Cullohill village in county Laois. Through a community-led planning process, it worked to establish a shared vision for the village. Challenges and opportunities were identified, alongside short and long term actions to support development.  O’Leary and Associates, an external consultant with strong experience in community development, was appointed to work with the community to develop the plan. The community engaged strongly with the planning process which also activated wider community-led development projects. The project puts in place building blocks to create a more resilient and enterprising community with greater potential for local job creation.


Strong engagement at community consultation workshop. Image Credit: Laois Partnership Company


A blueprint for the future development of Cullohill

The Community Development Plan will steer future development focusing on enhancing Cullohill as a place to live, work and visit. The Cullohill Development Plan was launched by Minister Charlie Flanagan in Cullohill Community Centre on Thursday 21st February 2019.

Strong engagement with the community-led planning process

The process of preparing this plan also required analysis and reflection on the strengths, issues and opportunities in Cullohill’s future development at the community level.  The community has engaged very strongly with the planning process. This was most visible and measurable at the public meeting held in February 2018 attended by approximately 70 people.

Community-led planning process stimulates wider initiatives  

Even before completion of the community-led planning process a number of strong outcomes had begun to emerge.  A community development committee was established to coordinate positive development for the area. The committee coordinated a fundraising drive accumulating a community fund. Another interesting initiative has been the development of a festival concept to raise funds for community projects. In July 2018, The Folly Music, Comedy and Culture Festival took place in the grounds of the majestic 14th century Cullohill Castle.

Long term value will be felt into the future

The project is expected to have significant benefits into the future. It puts in place the building blocks to create a more resilient and enterprising community with greater potential for local job creation.

For more information read the full case study on the Development of a Community Plan for Cullohill.

This project was supported as part of the LEADER Programme 2014-2020 under Theme 2 ‘Social Inclusion’ and Sub Theme ‘Basic Services Targeted at Hard to Reach Communities’. The Local Action Group is Laois LCDC and Implementing Partner Laois Partnership Company.