A new 15 million capital fund to help support community groups to upgrade and restore Community Centres was recently announced by Heather Humphreys Minister for Rural and Community Development.
The new fund will support community groups in both rural and urban communities across the country with upgrading and developing their local Community Centre facilities.
Funding will be available under 3 Categories with grants of between €10,000 and €300,000 available:
Category 1: Small scale projects/improvements to facilities - €10,000 to €25,000
Category 2: Larger scale projects - €25,001 to €100,000
Category 3: Major projects- €100,001 to €300,000
Applications under Category 2 and 3 must include a minimum contribution of 5% of the total project costs from the applicants’ own funds.
Funding is available for capital works such as:
• works to improve communal facilities such as kitchen and toilet facilities
• energy retrofitting, new windows / doors / heating systems
• upgrades to lighting systems and stage areas
• works to address safety concerns, including as a result of fire safety audits
• works to improve disability access
• improvements to assist in providing additional or better services to the community such as Meals for the elderly and youth facilities
• works to develop Community Centres as Social Hubs through the development of Community Cinemas, Youth Hubs and Community Libraries
• essential maintenance works, repairs to roof, and so on
Anyone interested in applying are advised to register in advance of the formal application process going live. Registration will officially open on Tuesday 3 May 2022. There will be a two-stage application process with applicants required to register as 'users' on the portal in advance of the application process on Tuesday 7 June 2022. The closing date is Thursday 14 July 2022.
I want to encourage all local community groups in my constituency of Laois and Offaly to apply for the fund. Community centres are essential to our community, we need places to meet, to play and engage in other types of activities. The fund can help revive forgotten or under used community centres and parish halls; by carrying out necessary upgrades and works or simply improving services and facilities.
The fund encapsulates so much; does your community hall need new windows or doors? Does your parish hall need a new sound system or perhaps a stage? The fund could help develop a new space for a new youth club or maybe a small community cinema, the choices are endless.
My colleague Minister of State Joe O’Brien on the announcement said “The newly announced Community Centres Investment Fund, will play a large part in supporting the development of Community Centres throughout the country both in rural and urban areas, allowing people to engage with their communities and the supports available. That is why I am committed to supporting the Community & Voluntary sector to maximise its impact in communities throughout Ireland.”
On announcing the funding Minister Humphreys said that community centers were at the heart of every community in Ireland, rural and urban and I couldn’t agree more. Community centres have been bringing people together in our local community for generations and I hope that the new fund will help that tradition to continue.
Community Groups are being urged to familiarise themselves with the application process and criteria before applying.
To help a sample application form and list of guidelines are available on the department's website.