Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
32. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a grant or support is in place to assist residents in Bridgetown, County Cork in petitioning the local authorities to apply for localised flood relief in the area and to strengthen the local community group. [27988/21]
My Department’s vision is for a sustainable society with individual and community wellbeing at its heart, supporting thriving rural communities, where all communities, urban and rural, have opportunities to grow, develop and participate economically, socially and culturally.
Our policies and programmes support that vision through providing supports that ensure all communities and individuals are empowered and have the capacity and opportunity to contribute to, and benefit from, improvements to the environment and the economy. This includes supporting participative democracy by developing the capacity of community groups to lobby for infrastructure and other enhancements to their areas.
My Department supports building capacity in communities and a thriving volunteer culture in a number of ways:
The Public Participation Network (PPN) is a structure that brings together volunteer-led groups in each local authority area from the Community and Voluntary, Environment, and Social Inclusion sectors. The PPNs are the main link between these groups and their local authorities, and they enable the groups to make their voices heard within formal local decision-making structures. It is important to note that PPNs are wholly independent entities and decide for themselves what networking and capacity-building supports they wish to provide to their member groups.
My Department supports and advances PPNs at a national level and they are accountable to my Department for their use of public monies and the activities they undertake on behalf of their communities.
Over the past 12 months, my Department has provided direct funding of €75,700 to each of the 31 PPNs around the country as well as providing structural supports, and this will continue into the future. The Department also chairs and provides administrative support to the National PPN Advisory Group.
In addition, my Department continues to work with stakeholders in delivering the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) to assist vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and groups.
We also continue to enhance the capacity of Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) by implementing the recommendations of the LCDC review. We support Local Authorities to develop and implement new Local Economic and Community Plans (LECPs), taking account of the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and communities.