Thursday, 13 July 2023
Department of Rural and Community Development
Community Development Projects
874. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the next round of the Community Centre Investment Fund will allow for the development of new community centres in areas; if existing community centres will be permitted to apply for funding for carparks and footpaths; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35001/23]
Community centres are the cornerstone of community life in many towns, villages and urban areas around the country. This Government recognises the important role they play in community life in Ireland, bringing people together and engaging with those who may be marginalised or disadvantaged.
With this in mind, my Department has put in place an integrated programme of supports for the establishment and development of community centres across schemes such as CLÁR, LEADER, the Community Support Fund, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, and of course the Community Centres Investment Fund which provides a specific funding line to support centres. In particular, CLÁR provides funding for carparks and footpaths at community facilities.
The focus of the 2022 Community Centres Investment Fund was the improvement and refurbishment of existing community centres across Ireland. Over €45.8 million has been committed to this important refurbishment work.
This year the focus of the Fund moved to new builds. I want to assist community groups striving to build their own community centre to service local needs. In March, I was delighted to announce a €20 million Fund to support communities with ‘shovel-ready’ projects on green or brownfield sites to build new community centres. This Measure will target areas which do not have an appropriate facility to meet the needs of their area. The deadline for receipt of applications was 3rd July and the assessment process has now commenced.
I am committed to ensuring that there is clear support in place for community centres across the range of schemes referenced above, and decisions in relation to any further iterations of the Community Centre Investment Fund will be taken in the context of the upcoming annual budgetary process.