Ministers Humphreys and O’Brien announce €4.5 million to improve community facilities
- Funding to support local groups to re-open their facilities post Covid-19
- Small grants for repairs and renovations, new equipment and safety upgrades
- Community Enhancement Programme to focus on disadvantaged areas
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, have today announced €4.5 million to support community groups impacted by Covid-19.
The 2021 Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) will provide small grants designed to assist in the re-opening of facilities such as community centres, men’s and women’s sheds, parish halls and youth centres.
The grants will range from a few hundred euro up to €10,000, however, exceptions will be made depending on the application.
The funding is to help groups and clubs get back on their feet and may be used to carry out necessary renovations and repairs or to purchase equipment such as tables and chairs, tools and signage, laptops and printers, lawnmowers, canopies, training equipment and so on.
The Community Enhancement Programme, which to date has supported over 8,000 projects, places a focus on supporting groups in disadvantaged areas.
The key theme of this year’s programme is supporting groups as they their re-open facilities which have been closed due to Covid-19.
As the grants are relatively small, this programme may appeal to groups that are not eligible for the €10 million COVID Stability Fund, which was launched last week.
Announcing the funding today, Minister Humphreys said:
“This funding is about giving a helping hand to our local groups and clubs, which are the lifeblood of our communities.
“As we come out of Covid-19, so many of these organisations will incur specific costs relating to the re-opening of their facilities.
“This could range from purchasing a new set of tables and chairs to repairing a leak in the roof or renovating the kitchen facility.
“These grants may be small in nature. But I know they will go a long way in helping thousands of great community organisations and clubs the length and breadth of the country.
“I would encourage all interested groups to get in touch with their Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) that administers the programme in their area.
“Supporting local communities to shape their future is a key focus of the Government’s new rural development policy, Our Rural Future. The funding I am announcing today will benefit every single county and ensure that important small scale, ground-up projects can be delivered by local communities for local communities.”
Also announcing the funding today, Minister O’Brien said:
“The CEP is a really practical support to smaller community groups and facilities that are active at a grassroots level. This past year has, once again, shown the importance of a vibrant Community and Voluntary sector.
“The efforts of local community groups & volunteers throughout the pandemic has been immense and, as we recover from the pandemic, we are conscious that something different is needed for many groups this year, and that is why with the CEP this year there is a focus on grants towards reopening facilities.”
The CEP was launched for the first time in 2018 by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Between 2018 and the end of 2020 the CEP has funded over 8,000 projects across the country.
The CEP provides vital support to community groups in order to help them improve their facilities. It supports small-scale funding for projects which range from purchasing lawnmowers and IT equipment to minor renovations to buildings. Ultimately the Programme responds to local needs and therefore it also provides some funding towards larger projects where needed.
In order to allow flexibility, the Department is not setting a national closing date, but will allow each LCDC to set its own, to best suit its area. The Department will require that all closing dates are no later than 16th July 2021. Groups should check with their LCDC for further details.
For details on the 2021 funding in each Local Authority area please see the below table.