Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Ciarán CannonCiarán Cannon (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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45. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of organisations supported under the Covid stability fund to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43947/20]

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.

This fund is providing up to €45million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) and the criteria align with DAF objectives to support:

1. The personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged; or

2. The educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or

3. Persons with a disability.

My Department received 1,060 applications during the application periods. To date, funding of €31,370,238 has been allocated to 598 organisations. On 11 December I was pleased to announce a further €13,436,742 top-up has been allocated to 574 of those organisations as a result of the €10m announcement in Budget 2021. As of 14 December 2020, €29,268,399 has been paid out to qualifying organisations and I expect a significant increase on this amount as organisations drawdown their additional allocations over the coming days.

Lists of successful applicants are available on my Department’s website at

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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46. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the supports that have been provided to community and voluntary organisations in 2020 in response to the impact of Covid-19; the number of organisations based in County Cork that have received support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43657/20]

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 better support the sector my Department has led on the following initiatives over the period of the pandemic;

Early in the pandemic, my Department launched the COVID-19 Government Action Planin partnership with other Departments, State agencies and our extensive network of community and voluntary organisations.

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 through the COVID 19 Stability Fund and the Innovate Together Fund. 56 organisations in Cork have benefited from the initiative.

On 9 April 2020, a €2.5 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund was introduced to provide funding to community groups participating in the Government’s “Community Call” initiative which was led by the Local Authorities. In Cork County a total of 158 organisations received support, under the COVID-19 Emergency Fund .

My Department recently launched a €1.7m COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which groups can now apply for through their local authorities. This follows on from a previous €2.5m round of this fund which was focused on groups participating in the Government’s “Community Call” initiative.

In 2020, the Community Enhancement Programme 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).In Cork County180 organisations received support, under theCommunity Enhancement Programme.

My Department currently supports over 420 community organisations under the Community Services Programme (CSP)to provide local services through a social enterprise model. Because of COVID-19 my Department also developed a €4.75M Support Fundto assist 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. 28 community organisations in County Cork have benefited from the CSP programme.

The Innovate Together Fund was launched in May 2020, as part of a wider suite of COVID-19 supports for community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. The Fund is a collaboration between Government, Rethink Ireland (formerly Social Innovation Fund Ireland) and the philanthropic community, and consists of a €5 million commitment from my Department, through the Dormant Accounts Fund, and €.6 million raised from philanthropic donations. The purpose of the Fund is to assist organisations working with vulnerable people and communities by fostering innovative and adaptive solutions to both existing, and emerging, social challenges presented by the current pandemic.

The Fund is now closed and 71 projects, some with a nationwide reach, are receiving business supports and cash grants from between €20,000 to €200,000. The areas of innovation cover Sustainable Ireland, Economic Recovery, Health, Online Education, Reskilling the Workforce and Community Outreach. 35 of these projects are making an impact in Cork in 2020, specifically in relation to the impacts of Covid. Because many of the projects have a wider geographical scope and online elements to increase participation, projects are not geographically bounded to city or county areas.

Information on all funding available, through my Department, can be found on my Departments website.


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