Written answers

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Department of Rural and Community Development

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Peter FitzpatrickPeter Fitzpatrick (Louth, Independent)
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18. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the cost to date of all Covid-19-related payments in her Department to individuals and corporate entities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15409/21]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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Together with other broader Government initiatives, my Department is providing a range of supports to assist community and voluntary organisations in dealing with COVID-19 impacts.

Given the role of my Department in supporting the economic and social development of rural Ireland, and community development throughout Ireland, all of our existing funding schemes support the response to, and recovery from, the pandemic in some way. However, a number of specific targeted measures are aimed at directly supporting the COVID response and recovery. The main focus is on community development supports, the increase in gross expenditure for that programme area, from €149.73 million in 2019 up to the €202.51 million in 2020, reflects that.

My Department continues to provide COVID-19 supports to communities right across the country. On 6th May I launched a €10 million Stability Fund targeted at organisations which deliver critical services to vulnerable people within their community but which now face closure or loss of service due to the impact of the pandemic. The application window is open until 27th May 2021. This €10 million investment builds on the €45 million Stability Fund 2020, which supported almost 600 organisations across the country.

The recently launched €4.5 million 2021 Community Enhancement Programme will provide vital supports to assist local groups to re-open their facilities post COVID-19.

Adjustments to programmes delivered by my Department, such as Town and Village Renewal and CLÁR, have been made, where required, to further support communities during the pandemic.

Details of the cost to date of all COVID-19-related payments in my Department are attached (See Table).

Covid-19 Related Programme Support 2020 / Budget line item Amount Description of funding provided
Covid-19 Stability Fund €32m Once off additional resource to assist charities, C&V organisations and social enterprise who have suffered significant falls in fundraising and/or traded income. Scheme administered by Pobal.
Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) €11.24m Series of capital and current small grants to local C&V groups to aid response to the crisis. Operated in same way as regular CEP scheme, but with focus on Covid-19 response at local level and increased resources compared to original planned allocation of €4.5 million. Part funded from within existing Departmental resources, with €5m in additional funding through the July stimulus package.
Town & Village Renewal – Accelerated Measure €8.8m Additional funding made available through the July Stimulus Package to facilitate towns and villages to respond to challenges brought about by the pandemic (e.g. enabling upgrade of outdoor social spaces).
Philanthropy Fund ‘Innovate Together’ €5m Once off additional resource to enable C&V organisations, charities and social enterprises to adapt and innovate to respond to the crisis. Seeks to leverage philanthropic funds. Scheme administered by Rethink Ireland.
CLÁR Programme €4.4m Capital funding supports provided through CLÁR were tailored to help rural communities respond to the new COVID-19 environment, including :School and Community Safety Measure (Measure 1) to allow for COVID-related safety works up to €50,000, and the addition of new funding measures for Community Recreation Areas, Meals on Wheels and Linked Services.
Comic Relief match funding €3m Once off additional resource to enable match funding of comic relief fundraising.
Libraries Development €3m Funded from within existing Departmental resources. Funding for additional 10,000 ebooks and audio books to cater for the increased demand and small capital works to enable libraries comply with public health and safety guidelines.
Community Services Programme (CSP) Support Fund €2.8m Funding provided from within existing Departmental resources to CSP supported organisations to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic on the organisation.
Social Enterprise Funding €0.8m Existing Departmental resources tailored to provide grant funding to Social Enterprises.
Volunteer Support Programme €0.5m Funded from within existing Departmental resources. Dealing with huge increase in volunteers (17,000+) at start of the pandemic and matching them with organisations in need.
Covid 19 Community Outreach €0.3 Funded from within existing Departmental resources. Supporting 31 Community Champions to work with Local Authorities so that all local organisations in every community are linked together.
DRCD Accommodation Unit €0.2m Office Sanitisation Units & Signage, ICT Hardware & Licensing, Cleaning
DRCD Accommodation Unit €0.1m Costs associated with public awareness campaign.


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