Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
22. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if consideration will be given to creating an online one stop shop for community groups and organisations in which all available grants and criteria are laid out in one place for the numerous organisations that seek funding to make the process easier; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43915/20]
My Department's mission is “To promote rural and community development and to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland".
A key part of achieving this mission is regularly reaching out to organisations in the community and voluntary sector through consultation, engagement and outreach regarding the Department's policies and all of our programmes. This allows us to ensure that those most in need are able to access services and supports and that we deliver outcomes that positively impact the quality of life of those living and working in our communities. This has been of particular importance during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, where such communication has assisted us in identifying supports or funding needs and the most appropriate remedial or proactive measures that can be taken in response.
One example of proactive interaction with communities was the delivery in 2019, in conjunction with Pobal, of a series of 'Helping Hands' events nationwide, to engage with communities and create awareness and understanding of our funding programmes. Feedback from these interactions was very positive, and it is hoped that similar events can be scheduled in the future when it is safe to do so.
Furthermore, Action 4.2 in Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities, oura five-year strategy for the community and voluntary sector commits to the development of a more streamlined approach to the requirements for community and voluntary sector organisations when accessing funding from the State. This is a cross government action that will require ongoing collaboration between the State and the sector over the next few years to implement.
My Department will also be taking the lead on a commitment in the Social Inclusion Roadmap to renew and refresh the system and level of engagement between Government bodies and the community and voluntary sector. In the new year, we will be examining the best ways to improve our relationships with the sector, building on the work of the Cross Sectoral Group that developed Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities: A Five-Year Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland 2019-2024.
In the interim, there is a wealth of material available on my Department's website, www.drcd.gov.ie, which outlines in significant detail the funding programmes and schemes available through my Department.