For Oral Answer on : 17/02/2022
Question Number(s): 7 Question Reference(s): 8573/22
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the measures being taken by her Department to support communities and to encourage community activities and events as Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Given my Department’s remit in supporting the economic and social development of rural Ireland, and community development throughout Ireland, many of our existing funding schemes support the response to, and recovery from, the pandemic in some way. However, a number of specific targeted measures are aimed at directly supporting the COVID response and recovery in communities right across the country.
Through the COVID-19 Stability Fund, my Department supported a total of 863 organisations in 2020 and 2021 with funding of approximately €48.8m. This funding enabled organisations to continue to deliver vital services to the most vulnerable in our communities during the pandemic. That fund is now closed.
The Community Enhancement Programme provides vital supports to assist local groups to re-open their facilities post COVID-19. The programme provided €4.5m funding in 2021 for small capital grants for the improvement of facilities and it is planned to run the scheme again in 2022.
I also recently launched the €9m Community Activities Fund to support community and voluntary groups impacted by COVID-19. This Fund will help community groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, with running costs such as utility or insurance bills, as well as with improvements to their facilities. In order to ensure funding is targeted to where it is most needed in each Local Authority area, it will be administered locally by the Local Community Development Committees.
My Department’s Community Services Programme supports over 420 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model. A co-funding contribution of €19,033 is paid towards the cost of each agreed full-time equivalent position and €32,000 towards the cost of each manager position, where warranted.
The Transitional LEADER Programme runs to the end of 2022 with €65 million budget available to Local Action Groups who deliver the programme and approve projects at local level. €20 million of this is funded by the European Union Recovery Instrument, to enable local communities and enterprises to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, adjustments to programmes delivered by my Department, such as Town and Village Renewal and CLÁR, are made, where required, to further support communities.