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For Written Answer on : 22/11/2023
Question Number(s): 255 Question Reference(s): 51297/23
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development to outline the various funding schemes under the aegis of her Department that are open for applications at present; the closing dates for any such schemes; the further schemes she plans to open for applications in the next six months; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


The details requested by the Deputy, regarding the various funding schemes under the aegis of my Department that are open for applications at present; the closing dates for such schemes, and; plans for future calls for applications under funding schemes in the coming months, are set out below.

  • The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) recently announced the Fifth Call for applications for Category 1 projects. This call is for large scale projects with planning and consents in place and ready to proceed. The minimum request from the Fund for Category 1 projects is €500,000 with no maximum set.  The closing date for applications is 8 February 2024.
  • The LEADER programme is a key intervention of Our Rural Future, which aims to deliver a range of actions to rural communities over the lifetime of the policy. The 2014 – 2022 LEADER programme is currently open for funding applications which should be made to Local Action Groups (LAGs) in the relevant sub-regional area. LAGs must decide on all applications received for funding by 31 December 2023.
  • The Dormant Accounts Funded Hybrid Social Finance Loan is a partnership between the Department, Rethink Ireland and Community Finance Ireland. At present, there is a lack of investment readiness among social enterprises and there is no tailored financial instrument that fits the needs of the growing social enterprise market. This unique new financial instrument will provide a mix of a loan that must be paid back, along with a non-repayable loan (grant) and business support for up to 20 social enterprises. The Department via the Dormant Accounts Fund has committed €890,000 for this Fund. In addition, Community Finance Ireland will provide approximately €500,000 in repayable loans. The scheme is open for applicants until 1pm on 8 December 2023. Further details can be found at https://rethinkireland.ie/current_fund/hybrid-social-finance-loan-2023-2024-2/
  • The TidyTowns Grant scheme will be open for applications in the coming weeks. €1.5 million in funding has been allocated to TidyTowns groups who can avail of grants between €1,000 and €4,000 to aid with preparations for the 2024 SuperValu TidyTowns competition.  The TidyTowns Grant is administered by Pobal on behalf of my Department. Groups who applied for the competition in the years 2021, 2022 and 2023 are eligible to apply – almost 1,000 groups can avail of this grant.
  • The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) is targeted towards enhancing facilities in disadvantaged communities. It provides small grants to community and voluntary groups.  The current iteration of the CEP, i.e., the Community Support Fund, is now closed to applicants. Details of the successful projects are available on my Department’s website www.drcd.gov.ie . There is likely to be a new iteration of the CEP in late 2023, however, details of the fund, the allocations available and the focus have not yet been confirmed.
  • The Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. Funding is available under the scheme towards the purchase, by registered community-based organisations, of personal alarms or pendants. This scheme is open to applications at all times.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for the development and enhancement of outdoor recreational infrastructure such as walking trails, cycleways, blue ways and bridleways throughout rural Ireland.  An announcement regarding a future ORIS launch will be announced by mid 2024.
  • The CLÁR programme provides funding for small-scale projects in designated rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population over a defined period. The next iteration of the programme will be launched by mid 2024.

Details of all schemes managed by my Department can be found on our website at www.gov.ie/drcd/.  Information on future funding calls will be made available on the website in due course, as the details become available.