Thursday, 14 July 2022
Department of Rural and Community Development
Community Development Projects
906. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a group (details supplied) will be allocated additional funding through round 1 of the connected hubs fund given the fact that a number of funding recipients did not draw down this money and therefore additional funds should be available through round 1. [38834/22]
Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, recognises the opportunity for rural rejuvenation that remote working presents and commits to establishing a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs over the lifetime of the policy to 2025.
In furtherance of this commitment, my Department continues to focus on strategically developing the national hubs network, and adding capacity to Ireland's existing remote working infrastructure.
Over €100m has been invested in the development of remote working facilities by my department in recent years, through programmes such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, and the Connected Hubs Call. Successful projects under these schemes are developed in collaboration with local authorities and communities with many projects seeing vacant and derelict buildings in rural towns and villages converted into remote working hubs.
On 21 February , I announced the 2022 Connected Hubs Call. The aim of this fund is to add additional capacity to existing remote working infrastructure in Ireland by upgrading established hubs and Broadband Connection Points (BCPs).
Eligible works included the expansion of hubs, installation of privacy booths, access control and security systems, the conversion of existing open plan space to modular offices, and the provision of enhanced audio visual, networking and conferencing facilities.
By the deadline of 4 April, my Department had received 189 applications requesting over €11m in funding. This represents a very high level of interest, and on 8 June, I announced €5.1 million in funding to 81 successful applicants.
All applications were subject to a uniform assessment and selection process. This process was centred on a competitive scoring system in line with a number of criteria which were publicised in advance of applications being developed and received.
With regard to the specific hub referenced by the Deputy, the application met the qualifying standard and was assessed and scored competitively along with all other applications. As the Call was significantly over subscribed this year, it was not possible to offer funding to all qualifying applications. Unfortunately, this application was not one of the 81 projects to succeed this year based on the competitive scoring process.
No additional funding will be allocated through the 2022 Connected Hubs call. I would like to clarify that an unsuccessful application this year will not negatively impact on any future applications to the Connected Hubs Fund.
907. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if funding is available from her Department for the construction of a building for a group (details supplied) in Oranmore, County Galway in which a suitable site is available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38832/22]
My Department provides supports for organisations such as the one referred to by the Deputy under a number of schemes, depending on the exact works being completed. They include the following:
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme (TVRS)
- The Town and Village Renewal Scheme (TVRS) was introduced in 2016 and is one of a number of measures designed to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. Since its launch in 2016 almost €113 million has been allocated to over 1,400 projects across Ireland.
- The 2022 TVRS places particular emphasis on projects supporting bringing vacant and derelict buildings and sites back into use as multipurpose spaces.
- Priority A1 provides for projects that bring vacant and derelict buildings and sites back into use as multipurpose spaces, such as enterprise spaces, arts, tourism, youth hubs and other community uses.
- Priority A2 provides for new build community centres (where there is a clearly identified and defined need in a town or village that cannot be met with an existing premises).
- Applications for TVRS may be made by sending an expression of interest to the local authority who prepare applications for submission to the Department. The deadline for submission of applications to TVRS 2022 is 22ndJuly 2022.
- Funding may be available through the LEADER Programme for the type of project referred to by the Deputy. LEADER is a multi-annual programme which is delivered through 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs) around the country.
- Support under the LEADER programme is provided under a broad range of themes, one of which is Social Inclusion.
- In order for a project to be eligible for LEADER funding, it must be compatible with the actions outlined in the approved Local Development Strategy for the relevant LEADER area, and it must comply with the Operating Rules and EU Regulations in place for the programme.
- Prospective applicants should, in the first instance, contact their relevant Local Action Group, through its Implementing Partner, to discuss the eligibility of the project and the funding that may be available. The list of all Local Action Groups, their Implementing Partners and their contact details, is available on the Gov.ie website at: www.gov.ie/en/publication/c45498-local-action-groups.
Community Centres Investment Fund
- I launched the Community Centres Investment Fund on the 15th April 2022. This is a €15million fund to support community groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, with the upgrade and development of their existing community centres. This is an investment in both rural and urban communities across the country.
- It should be noted that the development of new community centres is not covered by the Fund.
- Funding will be on the basis of a competitive assessment process. Guidelines and a sample application form are available at www.gov.ie/en/service/fec91-community-centres-investment-fund/.
- Applications can be made up until the closing date of Thursday 14th July 2022 at 3:00pm.