Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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672. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will respond to queries raised (details supplied) in respect of the local company development perspective application for Covid stability funding; and if she will seek urgent clarification for the NGO. [44279/20]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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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.

The Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund was intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. The criteria of the scheme stated that any grants awarded would be dependent on the need identified and organisations approved for funding were prioritised on that basis.

In this context it was considered that organisations that receive 80%, or more, of their funding from State sources are considered to have had a significant and stable source of income over the period under consideration, as the State has continued to provide that funding.

On the basis of the information provided by the organisation in question in their application to the Stability Fund, it was evident that organisation is in receipt of more than 80% of its funding from State sources and regretfully, it has not been awarded funding under the COVID Stability Scheme.

Unsuccessful applicants were offered leave to appeal and I can confirm that the organisation in question did engage with that process. All appeals are considered by an independent appeals panel and following further interaction with the applicant as part of that process the final decision of the appeals panel was notified to the applicant on the 9thNovember.

Following further correspondence the outcome of the appeal was explained in detail to the applicant by way of emails on the 11thand 27thof November and most recently on the 11thof December. The decision of the Appeals Review panel is final.

Paul Donnelly (Dublin West, Sinn Fein)
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673. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a source of fundraising will be available to non-local authority community centres in early 2021 due to Covid-19 impacting on their own fundraising via draws and collections and so on. [44458/20]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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I understand that 2020 has been a very difficult year for fundraising across the community and voluntary sectors. My Department has been at the forefront of providing supports to community organisations to help them through this time.

A €50 million support package for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Charities and Social Enterprises was launched by Government and is administered by my Department. This funding was made available from the Dormant Accounts Fund and consists of the COVID 19 Stability Fund and the Innovate Together Fund.

My Department also funds the Community Enhancement Programme. The 2020 programme was launched in June with funding of €2m providing small capital grants to community organisations towards enhancing facilities. Separately, under the July stimulus package my Department launched a €5m fund for repairs or upgrades to community centres and community buildings. While both these programmes have recently closed it is hoped to run the CEP programme again in 2021.

More recently my Department launched a €1.7m COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which community and voluntary groups can apply for by contacting the Local Community Development Committee or Local Authority in their area. This follows on from a previous €2.5m round of this fund.

More generally, depending on the activities carried out in the facility, there may be different types of funding available from a range of Government Departments and agencies. I recommend that community organisations engage with both the Local Community Development Committee and the Local Development Company in their area for any updates in this regard.

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