Top 10 Tips to become a SuperValu TidyTowns Winner

Community – Your Planning and Involvement – The most effective TidyTowns groups are the ones with broad representation from across the community involving residents, businesses and public bodies, of all ages and backgrounds. As shown throughout the country in previous SuperValu TidyTowns competition winning towns, villages and neighbourhoods, the actions of a local group participating in TidyTowns and similar initiatives can greatly improve the sense of community, quality of people’s lives and local environments.

A Local Biodiversity Action Plan – Communities should devise a plan specifically for your area that will help your community understand, protect and enhance nature and biodiversity. This may include protected areas and/or areas important for conservation e.g. waterways, field boundaries, coastal features etc. 

Tree planting and Habitat Creation – All TidyTowns groups are recommended to add to their existing stock of trees by organising tree-planting initiatives with as many residents as possible involved. Projects like hedgerow planting, bee and butterfly banks are easy and inexpensive.

Actions for pollinators –TidyTowns groups have been at the forefront of efforts to assist our pollinators. Given the importance of pollinating insects in biodiversity, it is expected all groups will undertake projects with these species in mind. Most local authorities have signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan so you will likely find a good response when you ask for assistance and advice in this area. 

Sustainability has been evolving in keeping with current EU and government policy as well as ‘best practice’ guidelines. The sustainability category calls on towns and villages to show an understanding of what this category means and awareness of the move towards a Circular Economy and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. Below are some top tips for a Sustainable Community: 

Tidiness – Judges keep an eye out for general lack of clutter, blocked footpaths, redundant poles, unsightly overhead electric cables, absence of graffiti, and control of weed growth at kerbs. The judges will assess the absence of litter and dumping, including regular litter patrols, segregation of collected litter during clean-ups and promotion of anti-litter awareness throughout the community. 

Residential Streets and Housing – Residential streets that include Town Houses are integral parts of towns and villages. Proper presentation and maintenance of all properties and maintenance of frontages, boundary and gable end walls. Gardens, where applicable, should be presented to a good standard. In housing developments, green areas should be appropriately managed for biodiversity and amenity. Children’s play areas should also be managed with equipment maintained to best standards.  

Planning – Streetscape and Public Places – Judges take into account conservation and presentation of heritage buildings and quality of shop-fronts. Obviously, public spaces such as squares, parks, playgrounds, street scape and their paving, landscaping and street furniture are important and ensuring they are mindful of and access for all.  

Green spaces – The planning, design and management of green spaces is an important factor in becoming a winning TidyTown. The selection and appropriate siting of trees and their ongoing maintenance and attention to the stakes and ties should be a key feature in your local community. The use of suitable plants for hedges and shrubs for year-round effect is important as is the siting of seasonal planting of pollinator friendly schemes where you wish to highlight important areas. 

Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes – Committees should consider appropriate presentation of approach roads, including the roadside verges and their boundary treatment. The appearance of town and village streets, connecting roads, roundabouts within the 60 km/h, laneways, bridges and cycle lanes are all important elements for projecting a TidyTown.