Villerstown Education and Culture Project Ltd was established in 2010 by a Voluntary Board of Local Directors. The Volunteers over the succeeding eight years have established a nascent social enterprise based on the provision of localised childcare in a rural community, Community Infrastructure in terms of a Community Boat Club, and now a tourism business focused on the environment and scenery of the lower Blackwater Valley.
The next phase of the social enterprise development has focused on the creation of Blackwater Eco Tours. The LCDC through LEADER has invested in the purchase of three self-drive boats to allow customers to explore with a guide the history and environment of the lower Blackwater Valley.
This enterprise is linked to an accommodation base of 4 glamping pods located in the centre of the historic village, thus providing an integrated package for visitors interested in exploring and enjoying the beauty of the Blackwater Valley.
The development of Community operated initiatives depends very much on the recruitment and retention of high quality volunteers with the capacity to develop and govern a local voluntary organisation providing local services and infrastructure to their local area.
The investment has assisted in the creation of a new tourism activity, and with the assistance of DEASP provided a number of local jobs on a year round basis. This project was funded by the Waterford Local Development Committee under the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 Local Objective Tourism as a key driver of Economic Development Strategic Action 1.1 Activity Tourism.