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After floods, Clonakilty unites for Random Acts of Kindness festival

Just weeks after their town was hit by flash flooding, Clonakilty residents are getting ready to unite for the Random Acts of Kindness festival.

Image: Sharon Whelton

JUST WEEKS AFTER the town centre was hit by flash flooding, Clonakilty residents are banding together for their first Random Acts of Kindness festival.

The festival, which will take place from Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22, will centre on the motto of “Cut the misery – Spread the positivity”. The organisers want to encourage people, businesses and organisations to “spread the true sense of community and happiness throughout the locality”.

All kinds of selfless acts will be performed throughout the weekend, in a bid to “rid the negativity and encourage positivity”.

Ger O’Donovan of Macra na Feirme told TheJournal.ie that the festival is being run by 10 local residents.

[I'm] involved with Macra na Feirme, one of the main pillars of the festival; for the past few years we have been getting involved in the community and carrying out the ‘know your neighbour’ weekend. We’ve also held for the last few years sandcastle competitions and we wanted to do something in the community for free to spread a bit of positivity. We wanted to do something in the town centre itself.

He added: “We always knew that Clonakilty is a place where there were lots of acts of kindness going on anyway. Really what we are doing is highlighting what is going on every day.”

Floods

The recent floods showed what a supportive community there is in Clonakilty, said O’Donovan:

With the floods, recently there was a massive amount of acts of kindness going on in the community. Everyone was very generous with their time.
There was lots of food and drink and tea available for the volunteers. I was a volunteer myself with the civil defence. There was a massive crowd.

O’Donovan noted that by the day after the flood, “you wouldn’t know something had happened”, though some places are still feeling the effects.

Ninety per cent of businesses were open the next day – the bars, pubs and hotels were open that night.

The festival has been in the works for over a year, with 10 people on the organising committee. “It was really in the last four or five months that we did something for it. We told a few people about our idea and it started from there.”

Events

The festival will be kicked off with a party on Connolly St from 6.30pm on Friday 20 July, featuring a flash mob, street performances and more. The festivities will continue on Saturday with events including a voluntary organisations showcase, juggling, historical tours and a speakers’ corner on the subject of sustainability and volunteerism.

There will also be groups teaming up for the good of the town, such as the rugby club joining forces with the Tidy Towns group for a cleaning project in St Vincent de Paul houses.

“Anyone that gets involved will be entered into a free raffle,” added O’Donovan.

If they pledge to carry out at least one act of kindness in the community, they will get an Act of Kindness calling card. You pass it on when you carry the act of kindness out, and anyone who receives it will pass it on too. Everyone that passes it on can enter the free raffle for prizes.

There will also be ‘kindness zones’ throughout the town centre during the weekend, where free gifts such as vouchers, cinema passes, cookies, and yogurts will be given randomly to people as a “way of instigating kindness”, said O’Donovan.

The full list of events can be found on the official website.

Community spirit

One of the partners in the festival is Jungle City, which features 30 painted life-size endangered animals which are placed around Clonakility. They will be celebrated at a jungle picnic in Emmet Square.

So, why is Clonakilty such a great place for the community? O’Donovan commented:

It is very difficult to say, but the community spirit is very strong in the area. Maybe it helps that everyone knows each other. Everyone works together – if you’re not working together on one project, you’re working together on another project.

Read: Cork floods: Clonakilty is ‘open for business’, insists Mayor>

Read: Clonakilty “was like Venice” during floods>

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