Begin Together Awards

Judging criteria guidelines for Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Awards 2020

Population Categories/City Award (Overall winner will be chosen from one of these categories)

The judging criteria outlined below will help your town or city village/urban area (town) when preparing your submission and also when preparing for the subsequent meeting with the judges, if your entry is shortlisted. It is important to note that the town need not confine itself solely to the detail of the judging criteria. Please ensure you fully respond to the three general information questions about your place (as detailed on the application form).

For this year only, the focus of the judging to be the most ‘enterprising town’ on the Island of Ireland will be based on the town’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In your submission it is important to respond to the judging criteria, detailed below.

1. The Enterprising Town

The judges would like to hear details of the range of businesses and social enterprises in the town and any significant local innovative economic development actions being undertaken. They would also like to hear about how these initiatives contributed to the local community and sustained employment during the Covid-19 restrictions. We want to hear your stories of innovation and great endeavour during this time.

2. Impact of and response to Covid-19

The judges are very much aware of the huge difficulties caused by Covid-19 restrictions to businesses and communities and subsequent re-opening of activities. They are anxious to hear about how your town responded, initially, and is currently responding. Examples of local business and community initiatives to help the town during this time and evidence of post-Covid-19 plans to support the businesses and the community would be welcome. In addition, examples of efforts to make the town attractive and safe to customers would also be welcome.

3. Partnership and reaching out

The judges are keen to see evidence of the continuation of partnership initiatives, during this time, involving business organisations, community groups, local authorities and state agencies. They also want to hear, how the town reached out and supported its diaspora and others, during the Covid-19 restrictions, and how the town is continuing to influence its own future.

4. Town Leadership

The judges would like to hear details of the business and community organisations in the town, how they functioned during the Covid-19 restrictions and current and future plans for the town. Examples of overall handling of the crisis could be outlined as well as demonstrating how the town’s unique selling point (USP) was and is being maintained at this time.

5. Overall community support in town

The judges would like to see a broad outline of the range of community activities in the town and want to hear examples of how the business and community sector supported each other during Covid-19. They are particularly interested in hearing about initiatives which helped businesses and the overall community make better business and personal financial decisions during this period.

6. Inclusion and diversity

Irish cities and town have a fantastic track record of supporting every person in their town, irrespective of place of birth or date of birth. They work to ensure participation, inclusivity and access for all, to the opportunities the town has to offer. Many of our vulnerable and disadvantaged people suffered disproportionately to others, during the Covid-19 restrictions and the judges would like to hear how the town ensured that all its citizens were cared for during this time and its future plans to continue supporting them.

7. Other

This heading gives you an opportunity to provide further information to enhance your submission. This can include awards, unique initiatives, local publications, local heroes and other achievements not covered under headings 1 to 6 above.

Rising Star

The Rising Star category will focus on towns which have overcome major challenges and can demonstrate how they have achieved this.

  • Details of the town, with key demographics
  • Reason why town should be considered as Ireland’s Rising Star
  • The current state of the town; please detail the business and community impact of and response to Covid-19. Also include details of the town at 1 January 2020 and describe the changes from the previous state and the progress the town has made.
  • Details of actions and approach taken to progress the town pre and post Covid-19
  • Details of successful partnerships within the town and with supporting organisations who contributed along the journey
  • Details of increased employment/developments/new business in the town and recognition for the town at 1 January 2020
  • Current and ongoing initiatives and their impact
  • How would winning help your town towards its vision
  • Please include details of how you intend to use the prize money and the impact it will have.

Special Initiatives

You can enter more than 1 of the special initiatives listed below;

  1. Local Town Promotion Initiative.

    Please give details of a specific marketing/promotional initiative for either a complete town, specified section of town, time of year promotion or unique town product that your town has introduced to sustain itself during the Covid-19 crisis and restart the local economy as restrictions are lifted.

  2. Local Community Enterprise Initiative.

    Please provide details of a locally run community enterprise, organised and managed by the local community that sustained employment and repurposed itself during the Covid-19 pandemic, and was ready to operate on ease of restrictions. Details of a local enterprise initiative established specifically to ease the impact of Covid-19 on your local community would also be welcome under this category

  3. Local Business and Community Response Initiative.

    This category looks at the complete town and how the town’s businesses and communities responded by working together to manage the impacts of Covid-19. The judges would like to hear a number of examples from both businesses and communities and are particularly interested in joint initiatives, which ensured that community life in the town continued to function and that vulnerable persons were supported.

The above categories are designed to honour the incredible work by communities who refused to give up on their town as they strived to ensure, with highly creative initiatives and sustaining existing initiatives, that their vulnerable population would be cared for and that businesses and communities would be supported during and afterCovid-19.

Please include the following judging information in your submission;

  • Full details of the initiatives and actions undertaken
  • Impact of Covid-19 on your town (Please include business and community impacts)
  • Responses to Covid-19
  • Background to establishment of initiatives
  • Impact on its target market
  • Impact on wider community
  • Local and other support for initiative
  • Supply details of how initiative is funded
  • Persons involved and organisations represented
  • Future plans to sustain initiative
  • Details of publicity, social or otherwise during Covid-19
  • Any other information applicant wishes to add.