Applications are being sought from across the country for a share of a new €15million Community Centre Fund.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has announced that grants of between €10,000 and €300,000 are available for upgrade and refurbishment works of the facilities.
Allocations will be available under three categories; €10,000 to €25,000 for small scale projects and improvements, €25,001 to €100,000 for larger-scale ones with between €100,001 to €300,000 for major developments.
For the latter two there must be a minimum contribution of 5% of the total costs from the applicant’s own funds.
Capital works covered include:
· 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 & 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, etc
There will be a two-stage application process with applicants asked to register their organisation in advance of the formal application process going live.
Registration opens on Tuesday the 3rd May 2022 and applicants need to register as ‘users’ on the portal in advance of the application process opening on Tuesday 7th June 2022 with the closing date of Thursday 14th July 2022.
A number of online information events will be held by the Department in May and June while guidelines and a sample application form are now available here
Minister Humphreys says “Community Centres are at the heart of every community in Ireland, rural and urban. We need places for people to meet up, to play sport and engage in all sorts of activities whether it is meals for the elderly, indoor soccer or basketball, or providing a space for the local dramatic society to perform”.
She adds “This new fund is about supporting them to carry out vital upgrade works as well as enhancing the services and amenities they can provide to persons of all ages in their community.
The Minister also says “I am encouraging all community groups to look at this fund and think about how they can use it to improve their own local parish hall or community centre. Do you need new windows or doors? Does the stage or sound system need to be upgraded? Could you look at developing space for a Youth Hub or Community Cinema?”
And in conclusion she notes; “Community Centres are all about bringing people together in a locality. As Minister, I want to ensure Community Centres continue to be at the heart of our local parishes, towns and villages.
While Minister of State Joe O’Brien TD says “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.”