Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State, Joe O’Brien TD, have today announced a new €10 million fund to support thousands of local community & voluntary groups with their energy bills.
The Community Support Fund will provide small grants to a wide and diverse range of local community groups to assist with their running costs.
Funding will be available to support Parish Halls, Community Centres, Local Development Associations, Social Clubs, ICA Groups, Senior Citizen Groups, Men’s Sheds, Women’s Sheds and much more.
The new scheme has been devised to support groups with their energy costs who may not have been deemed eligible under previous Government schemes.
These include groups that operate from parish halls and who need support with running costs such as energy or insurance bills.
Groups can also use the funding to carry out small upgrade works and to purchase equipment to support their activities such as laptops and printers, lawnmowers, training equipment, etc.
Announcing the funding today, Minister Humphreys said:
“Like everybody else, community groups are not immune from rising prices. This new scheme is about supporting these groups with their costs whether it’s the electricity bill, insurance costs or other overheads.
“As Minister for Rural and Community Development, I fully appreciate the fantastic work carried out by volunteers in communities across the country whether it’s the local Parish Hall Committee, the Development Association or the local Senior Citizens Group.
“These local committees work hard to make sure they can keep the lights on and run fantastic local services and events for young and old to enjoy.
“In making this €10m Fund available today, I want to support these groups to make sure they can continue doing this great work on the ground in communities across the country.These will be small grants ranging from a few hundred euro to a few thousand euro but I know they will make a big difference to the groups involved.
“The Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) will administer this fund on behalf of my Department at local level and I would encourage community groups interested in applying to contact their LCDC over the coming days at the contact numbers provided.”
Also announcing the funding today, Minister O’Brien said:
“In recognition of rising energy costs the Government announced a package of funding supports to business, cultural, health, sporting and C&V organisations in September. We know that many small organisations/groups particularly those who serve in disadvantaged areas may not be able to access these funds.
“These grants will help thousands of community organisations, clubs, men’s and women’s sheds, youth centres and parish halls, to continue to provide their valuable services to the people in their areas.”
The once-off fund will be allocated under the Department’s Community Enhancement Programme and will be administered locally by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs).
This funding builds on the Minster’s earlier announcement of the €10million Community and Voluntary Energy Support Scheme (CVESS).
The CVESS willprovide once-off support to incorporated organisations and registered charities within the Community and Voluntary sector which fall outside the parameters of other energy support schemes being delivered by Government such as the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS).
Further details can be found here.
This initiative forms part of a range of measures being undertaken by the department to support the community and voluntary sector, and to empower thriving, sustainable communities across Ireland.
It also ties into the Reduce Your Use energy efficiency campaign where the government are asking people, where safe and possible to do so, to turn their thermostat down and consider when they use larger appliances.
Groups should contact their LCDC for further details of the fund.
Contacts details for all LCDCs are as follows: