Rural and Community Development | To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she continues to liaise with local community groups in County Kildare and throughout the country with a view to ensuring that adequate support is available to facilitate their recovery notwithstanding the continued existence of Covid-19
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she continues to liaise with local community groups in County Kildare and throughout the country with a view to ensuring that adequate support is available to facilitate their recovery notwithstanding the continued existence of Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Given the ongoing recovery from the impacts of COVID, the supports provided by my Department to assist communities are more important than ever. My Department has been allocated €378 million for 2022, which will enable continued delivery of a wide range of measures to support communities and address emerging needs.
Supports, which are available to eligible community groups and organisations throughout the country, include:
– CLÁR 2022: providing funding for small-scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered the greatest levels of population decline.
– Community Centres Investment Fund: acapital grants programme for the maintenance, improvement and upkeep of community centres.
– Community Services Programme (CSP): supports over 420 community organisations to provide employment opportunities and local services through a social enterprise model.
– Dormant Accounts funded Social Enterprise Measure: provides capital grants for the scaling up of social enterprises.
– Community & Voluntary Supports programme: provides a cohesive framework of support for the community and voluntary sector.
– LEADER: a multi-annual funding programme delivered through 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs) around the country.
– Town and Village Scheme (T&V): designed to rejuvenate small rural towns and villages.
– Town and Village Renewal Scheme – Streetscapes: supports the enhancement of streetscapes and shopfronts.
– Local Improvement Scheme: provides funding to help local authorities carry out improvement works on private and non-publicly maintained roads.
– Connected Hubs Call: supports the development of remote working facilities joining the National Connected Hubs Network.
– Rural Regeneration and Development Fund: supports large-scale, ambitious projects which can achieve sustainable economic and social development in rural areas.
– Community Activities Fund: provides small scale grants to assist community groups.
– Community Enhancement Programme: provides capital funding to community groups in disadvantaged areas across Ireland.
– Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme: provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure. (Adventure Tourism type projects, Blueways, Walking Trails, Boardwalks, etc.).
– Empowering Communities Fund: a new targeted scheme to address area based disadvantage.
– The Scheme to Support National Organisations: provides multi-annual funding towards core costs of national community and voluntary.
– Dormant Accounts: €40,000 in Dormant Accounts funding has recently been made available to 4 Local Community Development Committees to act as exemplars in reaching out to those furthest from participation and the decision making processes. It is anticipated that the learnings gathered will inform enhanced engagement with marginalised groups by local decision making bodies, to ensure better outcomes for all members of our communities. In addition to the pilot programme, information and resources are being provided to all local authorities to support their engagement with marginalised communities. National events will showcase good practice in relation to engagement strategies, with inputs from experts and national advocacy and representative organisations.
– Supports for Social Enterprises: Grants totalling €526,000 were announced on 29 April 2022, for social enterprises, social enterprise networks and support organisations to carry out a range of awareness raising initiatives bringing the total funding under the scheme to €1.2 million. Social Enterprises create jobs in rural areas and support the aims of Our Rural Future – the government’s five year strategy for revitalising rural Ireland.
Further information on opening and closing dates for the investment programmes for 2022 is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/news/bd3c5-government-supports-for-thriving-rural-areas-and-vibrant-communities/
My Department is also responsible for a number of important policies supporting our communities, including the ‘National Policy on Social Enterprise’, and ‘Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities’ which is a 5 Year Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector 2019-2024.
Our Rural Future is a whole-of-Government rural development policy which contains more than 150 commitments for the social and economic development of rural Ireland. The policy will assist rural Ireland to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, enable long-term development of rural areas, and create more resilient rural economies and communities for the future. Extensive consultation underpins the policy, and in shaping the 2022 Work Programme my Department consulted widely, including hosting a series of three Rural Ideas Fora and the first ever Rural Youth Assembly.
I am confident that the funding supports and policies provided by my Department will continue to deliver, tangible benefits for both urban and rural communities, supporting economic development, and enabling the local and community development sectors to continue to provide valuable much needed services and supports to all communities throughout the country.
Ongoing dialogue is maintained by my Department with rural and urban stakeholders, including those in County Kildare, in order to identify and respond to issues impacting on individuals and communities. This engagement process provides important insights into issues impacting on rural and urban communities and identifies areas for response which are relevant to the work of my Department.
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