For Oral Answer on : 17/02/2022
Question Number(s): 79 Question Reference(s): 8574/22
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development her plans to engage for SMEs and employers to facilitate and further encourage the use of working hubs as long-term arrangements for business opportunities in rural communities; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, recognises the opportunity for rural rejuvenation that remote working presents and commits to establishing a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs over the lifetime of the policy to 2025.
In May last year I launched the National Connected Hubs network together with the connectedhubs.ie platform. The platform offers a suite of booking and hub management applications to members of the Network. There are currently 189 hubs live on the platform, with this number growing on an ongoing basis.
The National Hub Network includes a diverse range of hubs, services and facilities, thus facilitating companies of different sizes. To date our focus has been to develop a critical mass of hubs on the connectedhubs.ie platform – the focus will now shift to raising awareness of the network to relevant stakeholders, including SMEs/business owners and hub users. Work is also ongoing to consult with hub managers across the country in developing the future strategic direction of the National Hub Network.
A significant number of initiatives will be developed through the Network including; supporting collective engagement between Connected Hubs and large scale employers; supporting collective engagement between Connected Hubs and Government agencies; and supporting collaborative projects in the Network to drive economies of scale.
The development of a National Hubs Network is a key commitment in Our Rural Future and I am committed to continuing my Department’s support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs in recognition of the vital role that they can play in our post-Covid recovery.