Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Voluntary Sector

Emer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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44. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the level and type of support that has been provided in 2020 to community and voluntary organisations on account of the impact of Covid-19; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43654/20]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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Through my ongoing engagement with the Community and Voluntary sector, I am keenly aware of the challenges faced by the sector and their communities both rural and urban whilst meeting increased demands on many of their services. In order to support the sector, my Department put in place a range of measures over the period of the pandemic, including the following initiatives.

A €50 million support packagefor 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 recently launched a €1.7m COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which community and voluntary groups can now apply for through their local authorities. This follows on from a previous €2.5m round of this fund which was focussed on groups participating in the Government’s “Community Call” initiative.

The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) has provided a total of €7M for capital grants towards enhancing facilities available to communities. The funding is allocated to local authorities and administered by Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs).

My Department currently supports over 420 community organisations under the Community Services Programme (CSP)to provide local services through a social enterprise model. In response to the difficulties faced by organisations due to COVID-19, my Department developed a €4.75M Support Fundwhich assists all CSP supported organisations to continue to retain their CSP supported employees on their payroll and also provides assistance for the Employers PRSI contribution during this crisis period and until April 2021.

In respect of the Department’s other programmes, funding commitments are being maintained, and though delays may be experienced in delivery for a period of time it is expected that all projects and initiatives will continue when it is safe to do so.

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