On Saturday 30th September 2017, Sligo witnessed the final stage of the Cranmore Boat Building programme when the boat builders launched their creations (Highlander boats) on Sligo’s scenic Lough Gill.
The launch ceremony was hosted by Cranmore Community Co-op in conjunction with the Metal Mariners and Sligo County Council’s Cranmore Regeneration Office. Speakers included the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Councillor Seamus Kilgannon and John Buckley of the Metal Mariner’s. Also in attendance were elected representatives including Mr. Tony McLoughlin T.D., members of the Cranmore Co-Op, Director of Services, Bartley Gavin, and members of the Cranmore Regeneration Team, together with a large audience from the Sligo community were also in attendance.
In his address the Cathaoirleach said
“I cannot speak highly enough of the people who created this programme, the many volunteers who gave so generously of their time to oversee it, and the people who showed the vision and commitment to undertake the programme”.
John Buckley commented that the event showcased not only the craft of boat building, executed to an impressively high standard by the programme participants, but also their sailing skills acquired through a Sail Training Programme. The project has also provided the opportunity for participants to develop additional skills such communication, teamwork, social engagement and relationship building.
The pilot programme commenced in September 2016 with a number of participants from the East City Cranmore Regeneration area, undertaking 3 hour workshops once per week. Sue Mahon, Development Worker with Cranmore Co-op stated
“it is amazing to think that this time last year these men signed up for the programme and here they are today sailing their own creations”.
Furthermore, three of the participants have agreed to remain with the programme and will act as mentors for the next group. This programme was funded by the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government through Cranmore Regeneration, Cranmore Community Co-op, Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education & Training Board, and Sligo LEADER Partnership Co. Ltd., through the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme 2015 – 2017.