The Town Team was set up to drive the revitalisation of Monaghan Town (IE). Initiated by the local authority, the Town Team concept enables stakeholders (local authority, businesses, landlords, community groups) to work collaboratively to design and implement a plan for reinvigorating town centres, re-engaging with citizens and customers alike. This Town Team plan takes account of all stakeholders’ needs and must express the vision for the town, the actions required and who is responsible for what. The Team focuses on three key areas:
- The Offer (in this instance, retail and hospitality Investment);
- Citizen Engagement (for residents to view their town as their own);
- And the Public Realm (including standards and security). Communicating with the wider public and reminding people that the town is theirs to enjoy and support is key to engagement and to retaining their support for activities.
The Town Team process represents active citizen engagement and allows for the production of a Team Plan through co-governance, with stakeholders determining a shared strategy and setting these into clear, realistic and achievable actions that are costed and prioritised. Having appointed a Town Team coordinator, the local authority held a public information meeting with stakeholder groups and the general public. From expressions of interest and with a balance of the economic, social and community pillars, the Town Team was formed. With the initial membership in place, a SWOT analysis was carried out with a focus on revival of the town centre, and this was used to inform the preparation of the Town Plan. The key focuses of the Town Team monthly meetings are:
- To progress the actions of the Town Plan (achievements and next steps);
- To review the actions within the plan (are these still relevant; what are the existing/emerging inter-relationships between action points);
- To allocate tasks within the Team to ensure that actions can be progressed (who is responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of next steps, key action points). Another key participatory element of the Town Team is communication with the local business people and the general public. Communication is through an email mailing list, the http://monaghanhasit.ie/ website and https://www.facebook.com/monaghanhasit Facebook page which provides a link to what activities are happening within the town.