My idea is to rebuild our community spirit. As huge unemployment figures will haunt us for considerable number of years and maybe even decades. The whole concept of competition will be a stumbling block for many SMEs and only the strongest and lucky ones will survive. This idea will not generate money but it will contribute to stop people from going into deep depression and worse. Therefore it will prevent huge medical expenses and/or crime.
Below are some known bullet points to consider:
– People with great ambition, high skills, energy and great ideas but are finding it a struggle to find funding and fruitfully channel these resources into a business and receive an income.
– Graduates are not able to continue to practice in their fields and not able to emigrate to find employment because of many known and unknown reasons.
– Social workers, community leaders, HR and senior and middle (business) managers, etc. will find solace by their contribution in the project
– People are forced to review, change their lifestyles, objectives, ambitions and their philosophy of life.
– Young people are demotivated /bored and are looking for something to do and need to find some interaction with other young people.
– Social networking sites are becoming embedded in our daily pattern and most likely diminish much needed creativity, mental and physical exercise.
Build a community farm
– Idle and abandoned building sites/land by developers to be purchased (or confiscated). (NAMA)
– Community People can grow vegetables under trained supervision. The products will be distributed among the workers and/or sold to third parties.
– Build a community farm house/office with building material from unfinished construction sites (NAMA) or material from redundant building sites.
– Unemployed or new graduate architects contribute in design and project management of the services: farm house, canteen, storage areas, road works, etc.
– Pensioners, physically and mentally disabled people can join the project and will find “fun” in this farm. (instead of sitting at home). Art workshops and other occupational therapies can then be encouraged.
– A purposed build area for a children’s farm under skilled supervision of unemployed child care workers.
– Redundant machines can be put to good use.
– Unlike a kibbutz – workers will still live in the comfort of their own homes and the community can organize among themselves transport arrangements from and to the farm through car pooling.
– There will be no obligation to work in set working hours but workers will gradually find their own responsibilities and obligations in the project
– Different aspects in the farm will be exercised. Dairy products, fruit and vegetables, packaging, marketing, IT, engineering, R&D, hardware maintenance, security, etc.
– A canteen, restaurant coffee shop for workers and visitors and probably foreign tourist.
– Garden centers whereby one can exercise their garden designing skills.
– These centers will be built on grand scale of hundreds of acres so that it can produce for a large community.
– Community People will still keep their own private overheads (loans, utility bills, etc)
I realize there are many great existing running ideas (for example Fingal workshops). But isn’t it time we need to bring such ideas or schemes to the next level. I think these existing workshops are currently dedicated to specific groups in society but before we know it there will be no specific groups anymore. All people of all walks of society and all ages will contribute. I believe that this idea (supported by government, county councils and other local authorities) will bring the true community spirit in Ireland and once developed it will be unique in the world and will create a new kind of attraction in Ireland.
Will this idea eliminate the growth in private enterprise or unfair competition? I think this will only stimulate much needed new thinking and a culture away from the Celtic Tiger. There are no choices as we are going to be in this situation for a long time. As we all know, among other things, the Celtic tiger has brought a lot of individualism in our society. We are competing with each other and even competing among siblings.
High alcohol/drug use and high suicides are getting out of hand and this idea may give people new objectives to live for.
We are so proud of our successful achievements during the Special Olympics whereby we can mobilize so many to contribute. Some skeptics say that was necessary so that we can look good on the international stage. The positive thinkers among us know that is simply because we can do it.