Minister Humphreys announces first towns and villages to benefit from new COVID-19 supports

Minister Humphreys announces first towns and villages to benefit from new COVID-19 supports

From Department of Rural and Community Development

Published at: 

Last updated 

  • 106 towns and villages to benefit immediately from €2.8 million in funding
  • Funding to help communities to shop, socialise and work safely in light of Covid-19 Pandemic
  • July Stimulus Package includes additional €10m for towns and villages, €5 million for upgrading and improving community centres and €2 million extra to support the islands

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Monday August 3rd) announced details of the first €2.8 million in funding approvals from her Department to help rural towns and villages to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will benefit 106 towns and villages throughout every county in Ireland.

This first tranche of funding announced today under the enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme recognises the need to support rural businesses and communities to rebuild in response to COVID-19.

Practical examples for which the funding will be used include:

  • Widening walkways and footpaths to provide seating for shoppers
  • Providing sheltered areas outside local amenities
  • Enhancements to community centres to allow for remote working
  • Adapting community spaces, playgrounds and other outdoor areas for social distancing
  • Supporting the establishment of ‘Cycle Cafes’.

Speaking last week Minister Humphreys said:

“It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of COVID-19.

This funding will benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely.

I have increased the funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme as part of the €17 million rural package that my Department secured under the July Jobs Stimulus. This means that even more towns and villages will benefit from supports.”

Minister Humphreys continued:

“Local Authorities throughout the country have been developing creative and innovative proposals to increase footfall and assist businesses in our rural towns and villages.

This tranche of funding announced today is part of an enhanced €25 million Town and Village Scheme which will continue to rejuvenate rural communities across Ireland.

Further approvals under this hugely popular scheme will follow in a series of funding rounds that will be announced in the coming weeks. I expect that up to 500 towns and villages will be supported this year under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.”

Examples of projects being supported in today’s announcement include:

  • Macroom, Co. Cork – Revamp of town centre to include painting, cleaning, installation of street canopies, street furniture and adaption of streets to allow businesses introduce outdoor seating.
  • Kildare Town, Co. Kildare – Removal of existing car-parking spaces in the Market Square to facilitate social distancing, recreational use by the community, and outdoor eating and queuing for patrons of businesses on the square.
  • Carlingford, Co. Louth – Provision of café-style outdoor furniture, seating, parasols and traffic segregation in key areas of the town, and an activation plan for the town in order to increase footfall.
  • Kinlough, Co. Leitrim – Equipment for the setup of a Business/Digital Hub in Kinlough Community Centre in order to facilitate remote working and meetings/training/conferences etc.
  • Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary – Enhancements to Community Centre to allow for remote working, an indoor farmers market and outdoor covered meeting area.
  • Monaghan Town, Co. Monaghan – Large screen for outdoor town centre events, pop-up canopies, seating (mobile), green space set up at Courthouse Square and Town centre marketing promotion activity.
  • Castlerea, Co. Roscommon – Purchase of outdoor seating, generator and outdoor cinema screen for outdoor events.

Aside from the enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the July Jobs Stimulus also included a fund of €5 million for upgrading and improving community centres, community facilities and community buildings, as well as an extra €2 million to support the islands.

Full details of the 106 projects supported under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme measure are available on the website.


Town and Village Renewal Scheme (€10 million)

The extra funding of €10 million for towns and villages under the July Stimulus Package is in addition to €15 million already ear-marked for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 2020.

The list of the first 106 towns and villages to receive funding under the enhanced measure of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in 2020 can be found here .

The approved projects will assist businesses/communities in towns and villages to adapt to the specific challenges posed by COVID-19 (e.g. social distancing) and to increase footfall and generate economic activity in the short-term. These projects have been identified by local community groups and businesses, in conjunction with their Local Authorities.

They include projects that adapt outdoor spaces for social gatherings, dining or the hosting of outdoor events; marketing campaigns to entice people back into towns and villages; investment in developing or improving the online presence of towns and villages; local festivals/events; and public realm/infrastructural enhancements to allow for social distancing and to make towns/villages more welcoming.

Improvements to Community Centres (€5m)

The Programme for Government commits to building stronger and safer communities, and as part of this commits to capital grants, administered through Local Authorities, for the maintenance, improvement and upkeep of community centres. A grant fund of €5m for immediate investment in community centres and community buildings will be utilised in 2020. The once-off scheme will make use of the existing Community Enhancement Programme structures, with funding decisions at local level by LCDCs.

The funding for community centres is in addition to €2m provided by the Department for the Community Enhancement Programme earlier this year.

The Islands (€2m)

A €2m stimulus for the islands will cover:

  • A project to upgrade Inis Oírr pier which has been included in the NDP. The Stimulus funding will allow preparatory works in 2020. (€0.5m)
  • Additional funding to accelerate offshore islands capital works programme. The existing programme of works, to be delivered by the Local Authorities, includes roads, marine, and sanitation works. (€1m)
  • Capital upgrade works to be carried out at Connemara Airport to improve safety facilities and equipment. (€0.5m)

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