On December 8, 2022, Ireland‘s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, along with the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, announced funding of over €33 million ($33 million USD) for the revitalization and redevelopment of 278 community centers all across the country.
The announcement under the new Community Centre Investment Fund represents the largest ever capital investment in upgrading Community Centres and will see grants of between €25,000 to €300,000 provided to successful projects.
The funding will be used to upgrade, renovate and refurbish community centers, parish halls, Scouts Clubs, youth hubs, family resources centers and sports complexes across the country.
Communities in every single county in Ireland will benefit as part of the investment.
Examples of some of the types of work being supported include:
- Extensions to existing community centers
- The provision of meeting rooms, offices, counselling rooms and family rooms
- Energy Retrofitting/upgrades to Heating Systems
- Works to develop community centers as social hubs through the development of community cinemas, youth hubs and community libraries
- Works to upgrade kitchen facilities to enhance the delivery of Meals on Wheels
- Upgrades to lighting systems and stage areas
- Fire Safety Upgrades
- Essentials maintenance works, repairs to roof, rewiring,etc
- Works to upgrade toilet facilities
- Works to improve disability access
- Replacement of windows and doors
- Installation of electric vehicle charging points
Minister Humphreys and the Tánaiste made the announcement at the Hartstown Sports and Leisure Centre in Dublin 15.
This community facility was approved funding of €300,000 for a major upgrade.
Speaking in Hartstown, Varadkar said, “This Government and the last showed time and again that we’re committed to community development. I’m delighted to see this ground-breaking investment in community centres. It will bring real improvements to the heart of communities across Ireland.”
“In time, I think it will become as significant as the Sport Capital Programme which has brought local sporting facilities up a level that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago. The benefits will be felt in Community Centres, Parish and Scouts Halls, Clubhouses, Men’s Sheds and Youth Facilities,” he added.
“Every county in Ireland will receive funding, for projects like new meeting rooms, refurbished and warmer buildings, new social hubs, and improved disability access,” he concluded.
Some of the successful applicants announced include:
- Co. Offaly: Killeigh Community Centre – €300,000
- The delivery of a 200 metre recreation hall that will hold up to 300 people and operate as a social hub. The project will also see the provision of a canteen, toilets and a meeting room that will be used for public information sessions.
- Co. Tipperary: Burncourt Community Hall – €209,832.20
- The ‘Burncourt Community Hall Regeneration’ project will see the delivery of a new outdoor recreation, meeting and entertainment space, which will provide for large outdoor gatherings for people of all age groups.
- Co Carlow: St Catherine’s Community Services Centre – €300,000
- This Centre in Carlow provides a range of services to families, older people and vulnerable groups. The funding will be used to extend the facility to provide for a new family room and consultation rooms.
- Co. Limerick: Murroe Wood Park sports facility – €206,290.71
- Provision of a community café, community gym, remote working space, changing facilities and purchase of gym equipment.
- Clare: Newmarket-on-Fergus Community Centre – €300,000
- This funding will be used to renovate and repair the main hall, toilets and changing facilities, as well the installation of solar panels and LED lighting.
- Co. Cork: My Place Community Centre, Midleton – €300,000
- A first-floor extension that will provide two multi-purpose large rooms, another counselling room, toilets and a small coffee-break room.
- Co. Donegal: Bundoran Community Centre – €281,653.08
- A significant expansion of this facility that will deliver a large activity space that will facilitate up to 80 members of a youth group, 2 counselling rooms, a sensory room, office space and a disabled toilet.
- Co. Dublin: Hartstown Sports and Leisure Centre – €300,000
- Referred to as the ‘Hartstown Community Centre Revival’. The project involves; rewiring of the building, installation of disabled toilets, repair of stage and fire door replacements.
- Co. Galway: Kinvara Community Centre – €286,803.29
- Major energy refit of the community centre, to include floor and wall insulation, an air to water heat pump, as well as new fire doors, energy lighting and solar panels
- Co. Cavan: Castlerahan Community Centre – €300,000
- A major expansion of this community facility to include remote working facilities, meeting rooms and multi-function rooms for concerts and shows.
- Co. Kilkenny: Urlingford Town Team – €300,000
- Major refurbishment of the large former dance hall in Urlingford, including the replacement of the asbestos roof and externally insulating the reinforced concrete walls.
- Co. Longford: Drumlish Community Association – €259,909
- To create three state of the art fully accessible activity/meeting rooms for a variety of activities
- Co. Waterford: Carbally Community Development – €300,000
- To upgrade the downstairs space into a new activity hall as well as the provision of disability access.
- Co. Wexford: Ferns Diocesan Youth Service – €82,190
- Upgrade of centre to provide a social hub for young people
Announcing the overall investment, Humphreys said, “The local community centre is at the heart of our towns, villages and parishes right across the country. Our Community Centres come in many different shapes and sizes and provide a wide and diverse range of services and activities.”
“The Community Centre is where the children go to play sport; it’s where meals are provided for our senior citizens; it’s where the local dramatic society perform; it’s where the ICA, our Men’s Sheds, Youth Clubs and other local organisation come together for their meetings and events,” she continued.
“Most importantly in the month of December – the Community Centre is often the place that Santa will come to visit to meet the local children! It was a priority for me as Minister for Rural and Community Development to put this new funding stream in place and I am delighted to announce the successful projects today,” Humphreys concluded.
The new Community Centre Investment Fund forms part of a range of measures being undertaken by the Department of Rural and Community Development to support the community and voluntary sector, and to empower thriving, sustainable communities across Ireland.
Photo of dance being help in the Burncourt Community Hall is courtesy of the Council of County Tipperary.