Issue No. 28 | February 2024

South West Mayo Development Company CLG

Empowering Communities - Enriching Lives

In the Loop Newsletter

New: Balla Launches Autism-Friendly Unit

South West Mayo Development Company took pride in supporting the launch of the mobile autism unit, aimed at supporting Balla’s Autism Friendly Town credentials.

This initiative upholds high standards to enhance accessibility in local businesses, services, and public areas for the whole community. This initiative encompasses addressing challenges such as communication barriers, predictability, control issues, sensory processing sensitivities, and biases in attitudes and judgments.

Through the implementation of the Autism Friendly Town standard, Balla aims to establish an inclusive environment for individuals who have received a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Key measures include fostering interactive learning settings, providing sensory-friendly spaces, and promoting awareness and acceptance among both staff and the community.

By emphasising inclusivity and making necessary accommodations, Balla is actively fostering an environment where all individuals feel included, supported, and empowered. A special thank you to Norita Clesham (LEADER Project Officer) and Majella Mulchrone (LEADER administration support) who assisted Balla Community Resources Development to access funding from the LEADER programme for this innovative project. Together, we can create a welcoming and inclusive community for Balla.

NEW: Slievemore Heritage Trail: A Journey Through Time

Achill Island proudly welcomes visitors to experience its rich history through the newly developed Slievemore Heritage Trail. This seven-year project, made possible by LEADER funding, and thanks to the tireless dedication of community volunteers and SWMDC’s Sue O’Toole, Senior LEADER Project Officer with administration support from Fiona McGreal and Majella Mulchrone.

The trail offers a unique blend of culture and innovation. By incorporating augmented reality (AR) technology, visitors can engage with the historical legacy of the landscape in an immersive and interactive way. This forward-thinking approach ensures the preservation of Achill Island’s history for generations to come.

Every step along the Slievemore Heritage Trail unveils a captivating journey. From ancient relics, the deserted village, and the breath taking panoramic views, the trail transports you through time, offering a profound connection to the island’s past.

To celebrate this remarkable achievement, we invite you to plan your visit to Achill Island in 2024 and embark on this captivating and interesting journey through the Slievemore Heritage Trail.

Achill awaits with open arms, ready to share its ancient past with you. We extend a special thank you to Minister Dara Calleary for taking the time to launch this innovative project. Download the NEW app for the Slievemore Heritage trail Here

LEADER Update 2024:

The current LEADER programme is now closed and our team is working with businesses, communities and individuals on finalising their projects and claiming their approved LEADER grants.

While we wait for the announcement of the new programme, we are still accepting expressions of interest. By getting your name and contact details to us, we can advise people on the new programme details, when it is up and running.

Find Out More

We’re Hiring for the following positions:

Are you passionate about empowering communities and enriching lives?

  1. Social Inclusion Coordinator: to oversee & manage, primarily the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and various programmes that support migrant communities in County Mayo. Apply Now
  2. Intercultural Support Worker​ – Support Syrian refugee resettlement programme in Mayo! 18-month contract. Apply Now
  3. Resettlement Support Worker​ – Support Syrian refugee resettlement programme in Mayo! 18-month contract. Apply Now

Staff Updates for February 2024

New: Chief Financial Officer

  • We are excited to introduce Patricia Joyce as SWMDC’s new Chief Financial Officer, who will be joining us in April, 2024.


  • Natalya Pestova is transitioning to Mayo County Council, and we acknowledge her contributions to SWMDC, and wish her every success in her new role.
  • Robert O’Driscoll and Pauline Golden, Community Car Drivers departed SWMDC in February 2024, and we wish them well in their future careers.


  • We are delighted to announce that James Buckley’s role as Marketing Assistant has been extended into 2024.

 Registered in Dublin 182222. Recognised by the Revenue Commissioners as a Charity No. CHY 10482 Copyright © 2021 South West Mayo Development. All Rights Reserved.