Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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1172. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the package of supports for community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises, including the Covid-19 stability fund; and the application process involved and deadlines for each such support. [6252/20]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach. 

In this context, my Department launched the COVID-19 Government Action Plan to support the community response on 20th March.  This Plan, which was put together in partnership with other government departments, State agencies and our extensive network of community and voluntary organisations, sets out areas of initial focus in supporting a community response to COVID-19.  These initiatives provide support for volunteering, funding to ALONE for their crisis telephone support line and an email helpdesk facility to assist smaller community groups with their queries.

My Department has also put in place the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support the community response.  The €2.5m fund provides immediate and urgently needed funding to community and voluntary groups that are participating in the Government’s “Community Call” initiative, which is being led by the Local Authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Local Authorities are administering this fund.  Further detail, including allocations by local authority area is available 

In addition my Department recently announced a package of supports for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises. The funding package is being made available through the support of the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is specifically set aside to support initiatives which will benefit the most disadvantaged groups in society. It includes a Stability Fund of €35 million and a Philanthropy Fund of €5 million.

Details of the Stability Fund including application details can be found on the Departments website at

The Innovate Together Fund was opened on 13th May, 2020. The focus of the Fund is on supporting innovative responses to the Covid-19 crisis and is supported by a commitment of €5 million from my Department via the Dormant Accounts Fund. Social Innovation Fund Ireland pledges to raise additional philanthropic funds for this initiative and is responsible for the administration of the Fund with oversight from my Department.  Applications are open to established charities, social enterprises and to local, regional and national voluntary groups and organisations who are based in Ireland and who are delivering services to the most vulnerable communities immediately impacted by COVID-19.

The first round of applications opened on Wednesday 13th May and will close for applications on Wednesday 27th May at 5 pm. Two additional application rounds are planned for June and September of this year. Further details including application forms for the fund are available at and queries can also be directed to  innovatetogether@socialinnovation.ie

The Community Services Programme (CSP), currently supports over 400 community organisations and my Department is fully committed to continuing to support those organisations. My Department has put in place an additional Support Fund for 2020 which will provide an additional once off payment to many of these organisations to cover a 12 week period from 26th March 2020, ensuring that they can pay their full-time CSP supported employees a maximum of €350 net per week, with a proportionate amount for part-time CSP supported employees.  

My Department is continuing to liaise with representatives of the community and voluntary, charity and social enterprise sectors and with other Departments with relevant policy responsibility in relation to the challenges faced at this time.  Assurances have been provided in relation to the continuation of exchequer funding supports for organisations in the sector.  It is also worth mentioning that the Government Wage Subsidy Scheme announced recently will support employers in the sector to retain staff who are employed under non-exchequer funding sources.


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