5th March 2024

Social impact award win for Ireland’s first raingarden demonstrator


Cobh nature-based solutions pilot scheme has won ‘Social Impact of the Year’ at The National Property Awards 2024, Ireland’s leading property awards that champion excellence.

Praising the impact that the project has had on the local community, the judges said: “This project is a prototype for the future. The pilot, which involves raingardens and sustainable urban drainage, has engaged with schools, young people and the whole community in Cobh and had a big impact on improving biodiversity.”

We were appointed as design engineers on the pioneering project, which is the first of its kind in Ireland. It features a temporary demonstrator raingarden to test and monitor the quality of rainwater run-off and bio-retention soils used for water filtration. This innovative approach to surface water management not only reduces flood risk, but also enhances water quality, fosters biodiversity, amenity and improves the built environment.

The project has involved extensive community engagement from the start, with local school children embracing the opportunity to help their town build a more resilient approach to climate change, and the local community gathering for the launch. The project was also shortlisted for ‘Sustainability Initiative of the Year’ at the awards.

Our CEO Stephen O’Malley commented: “We had a fantastic time working with the community of charismatic Cobh. The project centres on using nature-based solutions to help deal with climate change, and we took the opportunity to codesign this pilot scheme with the inspiring young people of Cobh, and they embraced the idea mightily. Projects like Cobh pilot project are an important way to get these techniques and methods to shift from the margins to the mainstream.”

Led by Cork County Council in collaboration with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Wave Particle, the project launched at East Beach in Cobh last year.

Congratulations to all the people, organisations and community involved in the project, including James Travers, Ross Campbell, Isla Jackson, Stephen O’Malley, Andrew Peebles and Rebecca Keachie in our team. Find out more about the project here. [Image credits: Wave Particle and Damien Eagers].

Social impact award win for Ireland’s first raingarden demonstrator