The main findings of SARURE Rural Retail and Consumer Survey in County Sligo are summarised in: The Rural retail is mostly managed by men and shows some aging. Few of them sell online.

In the opinion of the retailers themselves, the best options for improving local retail are city or town promotion and subsidies or financing.

Rural consumers in County Sligo say they would buy local products more often, if there was "a better range of products", or "better prices and payment methods.

The Local Economic Community Plan acknowledged the significant role played by the retail and wholesale sector in employing people in Sligo and stated that it intended to “Increase employment and improve economic activity”.

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a commitment of €1 billion by government to be invested in rural Ireland over the period 2019 to 2027. 

Action 1 - Community Hubs

To encourage and support the development of “community hubs” in rural towns and villages of South Sligo as a means of revitalising and sustaining rural communities and their economies.

Reason for need

As mentioned earlier, the demographic and economic profile of South Sligo has consistently shown a trend towards the depopulation of rural villages and towns, alongside a reduction in the number of local.

Nature of the action:

Community hubs, or community shops, are an ideal example of such an intervention, which have proved themselves successful in Ireland, and elsewhere in the European Union, when managed locally.

Locally-based, multi-purpose community hubs provide a mix of retail services, social supports, and facilities.

Partner organizations

A co-operative approach has been shown to be an important factor for community hubs. This model removes the weight of responsibility to the venture, and distributes it among several producers, suppliers, agencies, authorities, local groups, etc.

Activity 1. Make submission to Local Economic Community Plan review process regarding the development of community hubs.

Activity 2. Familiarisation visit to models of good practice.

Activity 3. Continue to support the growth and development of the community hubs.

Activity 4. Identify the steps required to develop two additional community hubs.

A co-operative approach is a key feature of these models. It is essential that the local community “buys into” to the programme. The basic design of a community hub must centre around the “need” for the retail services being provided, with financial supports, to the local community and visitors. Community hubs can use the demographic profile of rural South Sligo to their advantage.

Action 2 - Retail Support Programme

Provide rural retail businesses with expert advice and strategic focus, to support sales growth and profitability within a rural setting, and capitalise upon the opportunities offered by changes in consumer practice.

Reason for need

The Retail Support Programme aims to upskill rural retail owners/ managers. The focus of the programme was on understanding and increasing Average Transaction Value (ATV), or the average amount spent by consumers in a single transaction.

Nature of the action

1. Part one of the programme consists of a seminar which will looks at global innovation for retail/consumer facing businesses.

2. Part two of the Programme comprises an individual Site Audit/Training Session.

3. Part three of the programme will consist of a follow up assessment with the individual businesses to gauge the impact on their business.

Partner organisations

  • Sligo County Council
  • Sligo Local Enterprise Office
  • Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce
  • Local community stakeholders

Action 3 - Tubbercurry Public Realm Enhancement & Open Air Market

Develop Tubbercurry public realm plan incorporating identified open-air market spaces and the securing of capital funding to deliver required infrastructural improvements.

Reason for need

The public realm of rural towns and villages plays an important part in strengthening the vibrancy of rural retail. Centrally located, multi-purpose spaces suitable for a wide range of activities and events such as farmers’ markets, antique fairs, performances, art exhibitions, etc.

Sligo County Council’s, aims to encourage the enhancing of Tubbercurry town centre through public realm interventions facilitating open air market spaces.

Partner Organisations

  • Sligo County Council
  • Sligo Local Enterprise Office
  • Tubbercurry Chamber of Commerce
  • Local community stakeholders

Activity 1. Make submission to Local Economic and Community Plan review to support markets.

Activity 2. Develop comprehensive public realm plan in Tubbercurry in consultation with local community stakeholders.

Activity 3. To seek statutory permission for a significant public realm enhancement to the market square in Tubbercurry.

Activity 4. Apply for funding for implementation of Tubbercurry Regeneration Scheme.

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