- Funding to support large-scale regeneration projects that are ready to commence
- Aim is to drive economic growth, combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres
- Strong focus on converting old buildings into remote working hubs, libraries, e-learning, cultural, enterprise, youth and community spaces
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Friday, 17th December 2021) announced the fourth call for Category 1 applications to the €1 Billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).
This Fund is a key part of Our Rural Future and will support landmark regeneration projects that will breathe new life into rural towns and villages. The projects put forward will rejuvenate town centres, boost economic growth and footfall and make our rural towns and villages more attractive places to live, work and raise a family.
There is a big focus too on projects that involve transforming old or derelict buildings into remote working hubs, libraries, e-learning, cultural, enterprise, youth and community spaces.
Projects that will be funded under Category One are those that have full planning and other consents in place and are ready to commence at the date of application.
Examples of projects were approved for funding earlier this year include:
- Ballybofey-Stranolar, Co. Donegal: Major restoration of old Ritz Cinema into an Enterprise and Remote Working Hub.
- Ballymahon, Co. Longford: Renovation of three historic town centre buildings including a former convent into a Co-Working Space, Youth Hub and Community Centre.
- Youghal, Co. Cork: Transformation of a derelict site and buildings on the main street into a new library, remote learning hub and community space.
- Thurles, Co. Tipperary: Renovation of a 19th Century vacant agriculture building and associated car park to create the new Thurles Market Quarter.
- Portumna, Co.Galway: Repurposing the vacant courthouse into a new mult-purpose arts, performance, remote working and social space.
To date, the RRDF has provided over €255 million for 164 projects worth a total of €347 million.
Announcing the call today, Minister Humphreys said:
“Today, I am opening the fourth call for Category One applications to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
“I want to see ambitious projects that are shovel ready and have the potential to breathe new life into our towns and villages - making them more vibrant and attractive places to live, work, run a business and raise a family.
“This Fund is about realising the vision that we have for rural Ireland.
“It’s about delivering on the objectives of ‘Our Rural Future’, which is already having a hugely positive impact in communities right across the country.”
The Minister added:
“I want to see projects that can improve the quality of life for the tens of thousands of families who live in Rural Ireland.
“I want to see projects that will tackle dereliction, give old buildings a new and lasting purpose and realise the Government’s desire to seize the opportunities posed by remote working.
“As we have seen already, this Fund has the potential to transform our towns and villages forever. So I would urge all our partners in rural areas to work on putting forward proposals that can make a real difference.”
The Fund is seeking to support large-scale, ambitious projects. In that regard, applications of scale are sought, with a minimum funding request of €500,000. Applications to the Fund must be led by a State-funded body - Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, commercial State bodies etc. - but collaboration between parties, including with communities, is strongly encouraged.
The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12 noon on Friday 29th April 2022.
Full details of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund are available on the Department of Rural and Community Development website here.
The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office
01-773 6843 / 087-173 4633
Notes for editors:
Our Rural Future
Our Rural Future is the whole-of-government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2021-2025. It represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development policy for Ireland and adopts a more strategic, ambitious and holistic approach to investing in and maximising opportunities for rural areas.
Rural Development Investment Programme
The Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme includes a number of integrated funding interventions:
- Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF)
- Town and Village Renewal Scheme
- Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
- Local Improvement Scheme
- Walks Scheme
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund
The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was established to deliver on the National Strategic Objective in the National Development Plan of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities. The Fund is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The Fund provides investment to support suitable projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas, which will deliver on the National Strategic Objective of Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities and achieve sustainable economic and social development in these areas.
Calls for applications to the Fund are sought under two categories. Category 1 relates to projects with all necessary planning and other consents in place and which are ready to proceed, while Category 2 projects are those which required further development to become ready for Category 1 status.
In total, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund has now provided €255 million for 164 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €347 million.
The Department’s new rural development policy, Our Rural Future, was launched in March 2021. The policy is the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in decades. The funding from the RRDF is provided to further the aims of Our Rural Future, which highlighted the need to build strongly on existing investment and to strive for even greater ambition to achieve significant and rapid progress on the objective of balanced regional development.
This is the fourth call for applications under the Fund for proposals under Category 1 which relates to large scale capital projects that have planning in place and are ready to proceed.
The lead party to an application must be a State-funded body. A lead party is permitted to submit a maximum of 3 applications to this call for Category 1 applications.
As set out above, the Key Deliverables set out in Our Rural Future represent the objectives of this Fund. The overriding focus of this Category 1 call for applications will therefore be to support ambitious capital projects which make the best case in terms of their contribution to:
- Assisting in revitalising our rural towns and villages, in line with the forthcoming Town Centre First approach, through planned and sustainable regeneration and development projects which will drive greater economic activity and footfall, address vacancy and dereliction and ensure the re-use of heritage and other existing buildings;
- Providing the necessary appropriately-scaled facilities and infrastructure in rural areas, in terms of remote working, town centre residency, economic and enterprise development etc, which will assist in attracting people back to live in rural areas and drive economic development within these areas.
Full details of are available on gov.ie