Thursday, 15 July 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Community Development Projects
I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 131 together.
I thank the Deputy for his question. The community enhancement programme, CEP, provides small grants to community organisations, with a focus on those organisations in disadvantaged areas. The funding is provided to each local authority area and is distributed by the local community development committees, LCDCs, on the basis of local need. In 2020, the CEP received a total fund of €7.2 million, including €5 million as part of the Government's July stimulus package for repairs or upgrades to community centres and community buildings. This year, on 10 May, I launched the 2021 CEP, with an allocation of €4.5 million. The key theme of this year's programme is supporting groups as they reopen their facilities, which were closed because of Covid-19. To allow flexibility, each LCDC can set its own closing date to best suit its area, but all closing dates must be no later than 16 July 2021. Groups should check with their LCDC for further details.
It is important to note that, typically, the CEP provides smaller grants and does not fund substantial renovations or the construction of new community centres. While community centres are funded from many different sources across Departments, agencies and local authorities, there is no dedicated stand-alone funding stream for capital works for community centres at present.
There is a benefit to the introduction of a dedicated community centre capital programme to provide large-scale capital grants for significant refurbishment, retrofitting and modernisation works across the network of community centres. My officials are exploring whether it is possible to secure additional funding for my Department to deliver such a programme.