The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, announced that €10 million will be made available to Local Authorities this year to support the regeneration of rural towns and villages across Ireland.
Speaking at the launch of the Rural Town and Village Renewal scheme for 2016 in Clones, Co. Monaghan, Minister Humphreys said:
“Rural development is a key priority in the Programme for a Partnership Government. Ireland’s towns and villages are the heart of our rural communities, but the economic downturn had a significant impact on many of these towns and villages. It is incumbent on us to help them achieve a recovery. I am launching the Town and Village Renewal Scheme today to begin breathing life back into our rural towns and villages. It is critical that towns and villages become areas where economic activity can flourish, where people can live and work, and where people can meet at a social level.”
Minister Humphreys continued: “An allocation of €10 million is being made available by the Government this year for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. I have more than doubled the allocation for the scheme in my Department’s Vote this year, from €4 million to €10 million, reflecting the Government’s commitment to the development of rural Ireland. Up to 200 towns and villages right across the country will benefit from the scheme this year.
Consultation and collaboration will be key elements of the scheme. It will be administered through the Local Authorities, who will be required to partner with local businesses and local communities to develop and implement ideas that can make a real and lasting impact in revitalising rural towns and villages.”
The Town and Village Renewal scheme is part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the benefits of economic recovery are felt in every part of the country. The scheme also addresses one of the recommendations in the CEDRA report, which was published in 2014.
A particular focus will be placed in 2016 on supporting smaller towns, with populations of less than 5,000. A smaller number of projects can be supported in each county for towns with a population of up to 10,000.
Total funding of €10 million in Capital funding will be provided by the Government in 2016 for the Town and Village Renewal scheme. An allocation of €380,000 will be available in each of the 26 counties for Town and Village renewal projects.
There are two categories of eligible Towns/Villages:
Category 1: Towns/villages with a population Category 2: Towns with a population of 5,000 – 10,000.
Funding will be allocated to Local Authorities to meet up to 85% of the total cost of each project.
Each county can apply for grants for up to 8 separate towns/village projects and submit outline plans to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in September for approval.
To ensure a focus on smaller towns/villages, at least 50% of the project proposals and at least 50% of the value of funding sought at county level should be for Category 1 towns/villages ( Funding will be released to Local Authorities once projects are approved by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The maximum grant for any single project is €100,000.
This Phase of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be reviewed and adapted as necessary for 2017.
Types of activities which can be supported
Measures which are taken under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme should have a sustainable and visible impact on the town/village. The type of projects to be funded under the scheme could include measure to:
• increase the attractiveness of the town or village as a local commercial and social centre, and increase its sustainability as a place in which to live and work
• enhance its environment and amenity in the interests of residents, businesses and visitors;
• enhance the culture and local heritage assets of the town/village and promote tourism;
• tackle minor physical infrastructural deficits and land assembly issues.