Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Rural and Community Development

Community Development Projects

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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357. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development when the proposed changes to the Community Services Programme will be announced following on from the review carried out by a company (details supplied); the mechanism by which existing community groups and Community Service Programme companies can have an input into the ongoing consultation process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56730/21]

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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My Department's Community Services Programme (CSP) currently supports over 420 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model.

In 2020, an independent review of the Community Services Programmewas undertakenby IndeconInternational Economic Consultants,on behalf of my Department. The final report was published on 30 September 2020 and was accompanied by a High Level Action Plan outlining the timeline for the phased implementation for the restructuring of the programme.

My Department and Pobal, who administer the programme on behalf of my Department, are currently working on the restructuring of the programme in conjunction with a Consultative Group, whose membership is secured from key sectoral stakeholders including CSP supported organisations, national organisations, community representatives and social enterprise representatives.

It was initially anticipated that the work on the restructuring of the programme would have completed by the end of 2021/early 2022. However, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, my Department was required to refocus its priorities in order to develop a number of support schemes for community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises, including the Stability Fund and the CSP Support Fund, to help organisations who required additional assistance during the crisis period. On 15th November last, I was pleased to announce the approval of a further €1m extension of the CSP Support Fund, to provide further assistance to those organisations most in need.

Pending the transition to the new restructured programme, the scheme is closed to new applications through the expression of interest process. However, there are a number of organisations with plans currently under consideration, and if approved, they will be supported under the programme from January to April 2022 onwards. In addition, it is anticipated that the Programme will open calls to address identified gaps in service delivery in 2022.

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