10 June 2021
By Tom Collins
Skibbereen’s The Ludgate Hub has won the Digital Changemaker award at the inaugural .IE Digital Town Awards 2021. The result was announced today, Thursday 10 June, at a virtual ceremony attended by Minister Damien English, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Fermoy’s ‘Connection to the Community’ project finished runner up in the Large Town (5,000 – 10,000 population) category.
The .IE Digital Town Awards, established by .IE, the company that manages and maintains Ireland’s country domain name, were launched earlier this year to honour local town projects and people that have demonstrated how digital projects have contributed to enhancements or digital improvements in areas such as health, tourism, education, public services, employment opportunities, citizen empowerment, and social entrepreneurship.
The aim of the awards was to ‘Shine a Light’ on the good work and achievements of towns that demonstrated digital thinking and innovation for the betterment of local people, services, and society.
There was a total prize fund of €100,000 across 14 award categories. Eleven of the awards were for individual town projects, with a further three special awards recognising a Digital Changemaker, a Digital Rising Star, and a Digital Hero.
As winner of the Digital Changemaker category, Skibbereen’s The Ludgate Hub won a total prize of €8,500 and was recognised for being the first to create a digital working hub in Ireland, and as the first rural town with 1GB digital connectivity.
Fermoy’s ‘Connection to the community’ project won a prize of €5,000 as runner up in its category, having been recognised for its role in enriching the town using digital technology like the Fermoy app.
Dingle Peninsula in Co Kerry was announced as overall winner for their innovative project ‘Reimagining Creatively Through Digital’.
The full list of category winners and runners up include:
§ Small town – up to 2,500 population
Runner up – Arranmore Island: Using IoT to help with assisted living for the elderly. (Prize: €5,000)
Winner – Dingle Peninsula: Reimagining Creatively Through Digital. (Prize: €9,000)
§ Medium town – 2,500 – 5,000 population
Runner up – Listowel: Supporting businesses and community online. (Prize: €5,000)
Winner – Edgeworthstown: Using digital to transform a town. (Prize: €9,000)
§ Large town – 5,000 – 10,000 population
Runner up – Fermoy: Connection to the community (Prize: €5,000)
Winner – Ballinasloe: Community Marketplace. (Prize: €9,000)
§ Large town – 10,000+ population
Runner up – Tralee: Getting Tralee digital. (Prize: €5,000)
Winner – Drogheda: Getting Drogheda digital. (Prize: €9,000)
§ Urban Town – up to 30,000 population
Runner up – Balbriggan: Digital rejuvenation. (Prize: €5,000)
Winner – Dun Laoghaire: DigitalHQ. (Prize: €9,000)
§ Digital Rising Star
Winner – Tubbercurry: Digital content for local people. (Prize: €8,500)
§ Digital Changemaker
Winner – Skibbereen: The Ludgate Hub. (Prize: €8,500)
§ Digital Hero
Laura Williams, Ballybough. (Prize: €3,000)
§ Overall winner:
Dingle Peninsula, Reimagining Creatively Through Digital (Prize: €10,000)
Congratulating the 2021 award winners and runners up, .IE Corporate Communications Manager Oonagh McCutcheon said:
“We congratulate all of our winners and runners up today and celebrate with them their immense achievements.
“When we launched the .IE Digital Town Awards earlier this year, we wanted to shine a light on the incredible digital efforts being made by towns and their people across the country.
“What today’s winners, runners up and finalists show is the resilience and spirit of local towns, local people and local communities in creating their own opportunities by using digital for the betterment of local life and society. In the case of all our finalists and winners today, the results have been transformative.
“At .IE, we hope that Skibbereen, Fermoy, and all of our winners and runners up can become an inspiration to other towns and communities around the country and show them too how digital technologies can create new ways of doing things, promote innovation and, ultimately, breathe new life into local communities.”
The .IE Digital Town Awards mark the first phase of a €1 million investment to be delivered by .IE over the next four years, with a focus on digital enhancement and adoption in Ireland’s towns as part of its overall .IE Digital Town programme.