Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Patricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
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942. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he will establish a grant aid scheme for community groups (details supplied) to enable them to adapt their premises to minimise the spread of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10601/20]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government is aware of the challenges currently faced by community and voluntary organisations like Men's Sheds and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these.  My Department has provided consistent support to the The Irish Men’s Sheds Association under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) with an allocation of €269,998 over the 36 month period of the scheme.  

At a local level, community groups are funded from a range of different sources across different Government Departments and agencies.  Some of the supports funded by my Department which are relevant to Men’s Sheds are listed below.

TheCommunity Enhancement Programme provides small capital grants to community groups like Men’s Sheds to improve facilities in both rural and urban areas.  The appropriate approach for many of the Department’s programmes is being examined in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Community Enhancement Programme is being considered in that context.

Funding may be also be available through the existing LEADER Programme for the type of project activity referred to by the Deputy. In order for a project to be eligible for LEADER funding, it must be compatible with the actions outlined in the approved Local Development Strategy for the relevant LEADER area, and it must comply with the Operating Rules and EU Regulations in place for the programme.

The decision to approve a project, or otherwise, is a matter for the Local Action Group (LAG) which administers the programme in each LEADER area. Interested applicants should, in the first instance, contact the relevant LAG through its Implementing Partners to discuss the funding that may be available.

The list of Local Action Groups, their Implementing Partners and their contact details is available on the National Rural Network website at the following link:

Officials within my Department continue to liaise with representatives of the sector and other Departments regarding the challenges faced at this time.

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