On January 8, 2021, Ireland‘s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, announced over €15.4 million under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
The funding will assist 147 towns and villages to implement measures that can help them revitalize after the economic impacts associated with COVID-19. It will be applied to a wide and diverse range of projects nationwide including walkways, community parks, outdoor cinemas, cycleways as well as the regeneration of derelict buildings and enhancement works at tourism attractions and other important local amenities.
Funding has also been provided for the development of a number of remote working facilities in rural towns and villages. Successful projects will see the renovation and conversion of vacant buildings into digital hubs as well as adaptions to local community centers to provide for remote working and eLearning facilities.
In announcing the successful projects, Humphreys said, “Our rural towns and villages are a vital part of the fabric of our lives. The past year has shown us, more than ever, how much we rely on our local communities and has rekindled our sense of pride in where we live. The funding I am announcing today is about helping communities get back on their feet and adapt to the ongoing challenges COVID-19 presents – it will help make our towns and villages safer places to live, work and do business.”
“The pandemic has made us all appreciate the importance of getting outdoors for a little exercise and fresh air. I am delighted that a wide range of projects being funded today will support the development of recreational amenities such as walkways, cycleways, dog parks, community parks, playgrounds and more. There is also significant investment to regenerate old buildings and enhancement works at areas of natural beauty – helping make our towns and villages more attractive places to visit and enjoy,” he added.
Examples of successful projects include:
- Stradbally, Co Waterford: €88,615 – The development of a biodiversity park, including natural paving, seating, bespoke bike stands and interpretative wildlife signage
- Ballinalee, Co Longford: €97,451 – The development an autism friendly community park with enhancements to playground facilities and the provision of a walking/cycling track
- Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim: €200,000 – The creation of a town centre community venue with capacity to host community and charity events including festivals, fun runs and cycles in line with public health guidelines
- Bailieborough, Co. Cavan: €100,000 – The development of an education facility, nature reserve, public amenity and recreation space at Bailieborough Lake, Co Cavan
- Lecarrow, Co Roscommon: €100,000 – Village enhancement, including the provision of a footpath from the marina to the village centre; provision of outdoor benches, picnic tables and public lighting.
COVID-19 has highlighted the huge opportunities that remote working presents for regional development. A wide range of projects approved for funding will see the development of remote working facilities in rural towns and villages.
Humphreys continued, “I am particularly delighted that a number of the projects approved today will support Remote Working – enabling people to work from their own local community into the future. While Remote Working was just a concept a year ago, it has now become an everyday working reality for tens of thousands of people as a result of COVID-19. I am pleased to see so many communities embrace this new reality as they seek to develop Remote Working facilities, eHubs and co-working spaces.”
Examples of successful remote working projects include:
- Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare: €200,000 – The regeneration of a derelict building into an Enterprise Hub with remote working / hot desk facilities
- Clohamon, Co. Wexford: €100,000 – The restoration of the old school into a multi-purpose community centre with a digital hub and playground
- Claregalway, Co Galway: €200,000 – The development of a 10-desk digital innovation hub
- Dysart, Co Roscommon: €100,000 – The development of a community study and digital hub at the local Community Centre
- Rathdowney, Co. Laois: €79,303 – The development of a community café, remote working and training facility
- Doon, Co Limerick – €89,550 – The development of a Community Services and eHub facility, with 8 PC stations, tea/coffee room, toilets, an office, and conference room.
Minister Humphreys concluded, “I hope to see even more remote working hubs coming on line in 2021 and I am pleased to say that I have secured an additional €5 million in funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in Budget 2021 specifically for the development of more remote working hubs in our rural towns and villages.”
Over 500 projects supported in 2020
The funding announced today is in addition to €10.4 million allocated by Minister Humphreys to 363 towns and villages since August 2020 for immediate COVID-19 response measures under the 2020 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
In total, over 500 projects are now being supported with funding of more than €25 million under the 2020 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
Minister Humphreys concluded, “Since August, more than €25 million has been provided to over 500 projects nationwide under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. These projects will make a real and lasting difference and demonstrates this Government’s strong commitment to supporting our rural communities.”