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A Short History of the Society Virginia Show Society is made up of 200 plus members, the majority are farmers and part-time farmers who also work and run local businesses. The show committee draws its membership primarily from the South-east Cavan area, approved and is very much cross community in nature. The Committee which now spans in some cases three generations of the same family has successfully run
Virginia Agricultural Show for 75 Years.
The show consists of over 500 classes and 3,500 exhibits annually. In the past they have successfully built the original Virginia Vocational School in 1962, now further developed as Virginia College for 800 pupils. They have organised very successful Carnivals and Dances in the original Ballroom for many years, usually for 4 nights a week creating good business for the local town. All farmers are used to running their own businesses and in today’s world where strong managerial skills are required, they are not found lacking. The Show committee is experienced in development of projects of a capital nature, and this coupled with a strong voluntary effort spanning back to the days of the group’s inception, provides a firm foothold from which to undertake the proposed development.
The present showground’s were purchased in 1945 and since then a number of building projects have been undertaken. The building of the Farmers’ Hall in the 1950’s and the subsequent construction of the Vocational school in the early sixties, followed by two extensions. In recent years a new judges box and toilet facilities were constructed by the Show Committee. This facility has broadband access and is also made available to local groups for meetings. The group have a good track record in project delivery and in efficient and effective use of limited resources and they are held in high regard by statutory bodies and funding agencies in the area. The Show Society are committed to the long term economic and social development of the greater Virginia area and are keen to find alternative sources of income for both members and local businesses alike, in the changing face of Irish agriculture.
Demand for an Integrated Rural Resource Centre
The concept for an Integrated Rural Resource Centre evolved from an open space conference held by Virginia Show Society in November 2006 titled Meeting Needs: The Virginia Show Society and the Future. The project was further informed by a Feasibility Study for the Development of an Integrated Rural Enterprise Centre prepared by Allen McAdam of MCA Consulting in September 2008. This study identified Virginia as a town which lacked a community resource facility despite its expanding population and predictions of future population growth.
It concluded that while there was a requirement for such a facility the majority of organisations in the town would not have the capacity, in terms of securing a site and raising finance, to provide such a community facility. This is despite the fact that there were 25 clubs, schools and organisations identified in the Study as committing to use such a facility and a clear need to provide a safe and supervised environment for young people to socialise. It further identified a demand for farm diversification in order to support the livelihoods of much of the local agricultural population including that of many of the Society’s members.
Through an on-going consultation process with its members Virginia Agricultural Show Society recognised that the Society was in a strong position to provide the necessary resources to enable the development of a facility of this nature. With over 200 members, mainly from an agricultural or rural background, the society is uniquely endowed with the necessary skill pool and human resources to support such a project. It has a strong tradition of voluntary work and has been the driving force behind a number of key large-scale infrastructural projects in the area in the past. It is also fortunate to have a strategically located land bank which lends itself to providing an appropriate site for the facility.
Details The Virginia Agricultural Show Society has identified key objectives.
- To provide for the social and educational needs through the provision of social infrastructure and facilities and to encourage cooperation between local community groups to achieve common goals;
- To promote interest, education, knowledge and pride in the rural heritage including the natural, historical and architectural heritage found in Virginia and the surrounding area;
- To encourage economic activity in the area with a strong focus on the development of agri-tourism, and agri related businesses.
- To develop facilities and infrastructure which will service the needs of the annual Virginia Agricultural Show and other organisations including local and national organisations such as breed societies.
Centre’s Location & Facilities Virginia Show Centre Ltd. is based at the Showgrounds located to the rear of Main Street, Virginia and adjacent to Virgin
ia College. In addition to the annual agricultural show the Showgrounds is used for a variety of community purposes including the annual Vintage Fair Day and the Pumpkin Festival as well as dedicated classes and other intermittent and fundraising activities. The Virginia Show Centre will be a facility for the entire community, from the very young to the old and will foster a new sense of place among the existing established community in the Virginia hinterland and the new residents in the area. This project is funded by Cavan Monaghan Leader to the tune of €500,000 —