Budget 2015: €133m boost for community schemes

Community-based schemes are set to benefit from a €133m cash injection next year.

The fund sets aside €46m for the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) which aims to increase access to educational activities and resources, and to improve employment prospects.

Community Minister Alan Kelly said: “As the economy emerges from recession, SICAP is well placed to create opportunities and provide supports to ease the transition into meaningful employment for the harder-to-reach in the most disadvantaged areas in society.”

SICAP will take over from the Local and Community Development Programme which provides training to over 10,000 people distanced from the labour market.

In addition, the Leader programme, which aims to improve the quality of life of people living in the countryside, will receive €45m to promote growth in the rural economy.

Funding will continue for a range of initiatives in the community and voluntary sector, including supports for volunteerism and philanthropy.

Funding for seniors alert, which supports the provision of monitored alarms for the elderly, will also continue. Overall, funding for community and voluntary supports will rise to €12.3m, an increase of €1.5m.

Other areas of Department spend in 2015 include water services (€28m); the North/South peace programme (€10m); landfill remediation (€8.5m); and fire services capital investment (€8m).

The Local Government Fund will be paid €71m in respect of Irish Water subvention, and an additional €10m will be used to recoup investment made by local authorities following severe storm damage earlier this year.


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