For Oral Answer on : 14/11/2023
Question Number(s): 31 Question Reference(s): 49470/23
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development with reference to the 2023 Community Centres Investment Fund-New Builds Measure, if lead parties could have included primary or second level schools working in partnership with local community organisations; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
This Government recognises the important role that community centres play in community life in Ireland, particularly in bringing people together and engaging with those who may be marginalised or disadvantaged.
With this in mind, my Department has put in place an integrated programme of supports for the establishment and development of community centres across schemes such as CLÁR, LEADER, the Community Support Fund, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, and of course the Community Centres Investment Fund which provides a specific funding line to support centres.
The focus of the 2022 Community Centres Investment Fund was the improvement and refurbishment of existing community centres across Ireland. Over €45.8 million has been committed to this important refurbishment work.
This year the focus of the Fund moved to new builds. I want to assist community groups striving to build their own community centre to service local needs. In March, I was delighted to announce a €20 million Fund to support communities with ‘shovel-ready’ projects on green or brownfield sites to build new community centres.
This Measure will target areas which do not have an appropriate facility to meet the needs of their area. The minimum grant funding available is €1 million with the maximum being €6 million. The deadline for receipt of applications was 3rd July.
These applications are currently being assessed by my Department and it is expected that successful projects will be announced in quarter one of 2024.
For the purposes of compliance with public financial procedures, the lead party to an application had to be a State-funded body. State-funded bodies are local authorities, local development companies and other State agencies, including commercial State bodies. This would not have included primary or secondary level schools, although they were welcome to engage with lead parties and communities in support of any particular project.