Move to help communities access grant funding

Information for community groups on how to submit effective applications for grant funding will be delivered at a series of events this month.

These “Helping Hands” events are organised by the Department of Rural & Community Development, Pobal, local authorities, the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN), and the Local Development Companies.

These organisations deliver grant schemes such as funding to support regeneration of towns and villages; recreational use of the countryside through the Walks scheme; road improvements in remote rural areas; and improved services in depopulated (CLÁR) areas.

The Department of Rural & Community Development is also responsible for the Project Ireland 2040 €1bn Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, and the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme.

Pobal provides management and support services to about 23 programmes on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Department of Health/HSE, and EU bodies.

The ILDN represents 49 local development companies who deliver LEADER, SICAP, the Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Local Employment Service, Jobs Clubs, Rural Recreation Programme, Walks Scheme, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, and social enterprise programmes.

Information will also be available on the recently launched Community Enhancement Programme, with initial funding of €4.5m.

The “Helping Hands” events offer hints and tips on how to make a better application and how to identify local supports that community groups can draw upon.

They are particularly aimed at helping groups that have received little or no funding in the past. But all are welcome to attend.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said he recently hosted a number of rural opportunity events around the country, and recognised that the grant application process is often a daunting one for volunteers or other small organisations to negotiate.

Sometimes the groups that have good ideas, and need it most, don’t make applications or are unsuccessful when they do

Included are two “Helping Hands” events in Munster, on Thursday, May 16, 7-9pm, in the James O’Keeffe Institute, Newmarket, Co Cork, and on Thursday, May 23, 7-9pm, in the Southill Hub, O’Malley Park, Limerick.

Events will take place in Donegal, Offaly, and Dublin.

Those interested in attending are asked to register on the website.

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