On April 12, 2019—in Bluestack Centre, Letterbarra, Drimarone, County Donegal, Ireland—Michael Ring, TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, launched a new call for rural community revitalization proposals under the government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, a part of the Project Ireland 2040 program.
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund—which is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development—will provide €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the renewal of small towns, villages and outlying rural areas.
Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022. Under the first call, €86 million in funding for projects throughout the country was announced.
Announcing the opening of the second call for the Fund, Minister Ring said, “I am delighted to announce the second call for proposals under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund today at this ‘Rural Opportunity’ event in Donegal. The Fund is an important part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 initiative and will help to stimulate renewal and continued development economically and socially in rural areas across Ireland.”
“The Fund will support significant and strategic investment in capital projects which will strengthen rural economies and communities across this country. Promoting collaboration at a local level, the Fund will continue to transform local communities, building their resilience and contribute to the objectives of Project Ireland 2040,” he added.
This second call for proposals will focus on Category 1 capital regeneration projects which are ready to commence. Through a competitive process the Fund will support collaborative projects in rural settlements of less than 10,000, with funding available of at least €500,000.
The types of initiatives which the Fund will support in the second call include:
- Measures to address infrastructural deficiencies that are instrumental to and part of town and village regeneration;
- Measures to address building vacancy in order to encourage town centre regeneration, including building refurbishment, redevelopment and/or demolition;
- Improving public amenity and public realm in towns and villages and the development of recreational facilities;
- Projects which deliver on multiple objectives, for example, delivering a town centre regeneration project which also contributes to economic, tourism, community or cultural development;
- Projects which take an integrated approach to developing employment opportunities within a town or its environs;
- Projects that support job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation; and
- Development or expansion of tourism initiatives which generate new areas of economic activity and attract increased visitor numbers to rural areas.
Key policy priorities for this call include building the resilience of communities to face- the challenges posed by Brexit outcomes and assisting in the transition to a competitive, low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.
Ring concluded, “In this Second Call, we are also keenly aware of the need to focus funding on regeneration which can address Government wide policy priorities, namely: supporting communities to face the challenges posed by Brexit, and assisting communities to transition to a competitive, low carbon and environmentally sustainable economy.”
The Fund will be open to Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, other Government Departments, philanthropic funders, the private sector and communities. The Lead Partner must be a State-funded body.
It is expected that a call for Category 2 proposals (funding to enable projects develop to category 1 application stage) will be announced in October 2019.
The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12 noon on August 6, 2019.
It is anticipated that successful projects will be announced in October of 2019.
Photo courtesy of the Bluestack Centre.