I’m delighted to see that €50million is being made available to communities across Ireland by this new Community Recognition Fund. This fund, the first of its kind, is recognising the invaluable part our communities have played in welcoming and embracing citizens from Ukraine and other countries. As part of the fund, the Midlands counties of Laois, Offaly and Westmeath will receive over €3.3million to support local projects. Under the fund, Laois will receive just over €1million, while Offaly will get almost €670,000 and just over €1.6million will go to Westmeath.
This first of its kind initiative, is designed to support communities across the country that have welcomed and are hosting families and citizens from Ukraine and other countries. It is wonderful to see our communities being recognised and rewarded for being so welcoming over the years, as they have dealt with many challenges, not least the war in Ukraine. I encourage communities to engage with their local authorities in developing projects that directly address local needs.
The fund can be used for a wide variety of projects from refurbishment of local sports clubs and community facilities to festivals and transport and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this fund come to bear, benefitting our towns and villages for years to come. The fund will support a range of projects such as:
The refurbishment of local sports clubs and facilities
The upgrade of community facilities such as play areas, walkways, parks and community gardens
The purchase of equipment to benefit local clubs, festivals, music and arts organisations
The enhancement of school or parish facilities that are open to the wider community after hours or on weekends
Transport infrastructure such as community vehicles and bus shelters
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Joe O’Brien said;
“Today’s announcement will support local communities to create local solutions and ensure people on the ground get the necessary support. These communities are playing a vital role and this funding will develop facilities that will benefit them for many years to come.”
In my own community ‘Geashill Supporting Ukrainian Families’ held a fundraising sale last May, to help Ukrainian families in our area.