Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD issue a call this week for applications for the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
His call has been relayed to this area through his party colleague, Cllr. Bobby O’Connell.
Rural Towns and Villages
The scheme supports the rejuvenation of rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000 people through projects that will have a viable, long-term benefit.
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is a key initiative under the Action Plan for Rural Development and is part of a range of measures to support the revitalisation of rural Ireland under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration Programme.
Introduced in 2016
Since the Town and Village Renewal Scheme was introduced in 2016, almost €53 million has been approved for over 670 projects across the country. These projects cover a range of activities, from improving the public realm, to job-creation initiatives such as the development of enterprise hubs and digital hubs. The 2019 scheme which I am announcing today will contribute further to the rejuvenation of rural towns and villages across Ireland.
Support Rural Ireland
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme has become an integral part of the Government’s drive to support rural Ireland. It provides funding of up to €200,000 for projects that make our towns more attractive places in which to live and work.
The scheme is complementary to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which will provide €1 billion over the next ten years for larger scale, collaborative and transformative projects that will result in a significant economic impact in rural towns and villages and their hinterlands. The minimum grant level under the Rural Regeneration Fund is €500,000.
Residential Occupancy in Towns
For 2019, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will support projects which enhance the town or village centre environment. Building on the pilot scheme I launched in October 2018, it will also place a focus on initiatives which encourage increased residential occupancy in town centres.
The Town and Village Renewal Scheme supports my Department’s mission to promote rural and community development and to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland. It will help build the resilience of rural communities in the face of Brexit and can also contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy through measures based in town centres.
Re-Application from Previously Unsuccessful Towns
I would particularly welcome applications this year from towns and villages that are most in need of support and towns that did not apply or were unsuccessful in the past.
As in previous years, the scheme will be administered through the Local Authorities, who will be required to work closely with local communities and local businesses to develop and implement proposals that can make a lasting impact in revitalising rural towns and villages across the country.
Local Authorities will be required to advertise for expressions of interest from towns/villages in their area and can select up to 12 proposals for development into detailed applications to be submitted to the Department by the end of June. Selection of projects will be by means of a competitive process.
My Department will write to the Local Authorities in the coming days with full details of the Scheme.
Categories of Town/Villages
Two categories of Town/Villages are eligible for support under the scheme:
Category 1: Towns/villages with a population of less than 5,000 people.
Category 2: Towns with a population of 5,000-10,000 people.
At least of 60% of the funding available will be awarded to Category 1 towns and villages.
Successful proposals will demonstrate close collaboration between communities and business interests in the design and delivery of proposed projects, and must have the support of the Local Authority.
Projects which have clear positive impacts on a town or village in terms of place-making and town centre regeneration, or which stimulate economic activity between a town/village and its neighbouring townlands will be particularly welcome, as will proposals seeking to develop initiatives to encourage town centre living.
Projects which demonstrate leveraging of, or linkages with, other schemes operated by Government Departments or agencies (e.g. in the areas of heritage, arts, culture, tourism, re-use of vacant premises, vacant sites, energy efficiency schemes, etc.) will also be encouraged.
Up to 80% of the total cost of a project under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be provided for any individual project. The minimum grant which is available is €20,000 and the maximum is €100,000. A higher maximum of €200,000 will be considered for a limited number of projects where a strong case can be made demonstrating exceptionally strong benefit to a town and/or its outlying areas.
Full details of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, along with the Application Form, are available on the Department of Rural and Community Development website, at https://drcd.gov.ie/about/rural/rural-regeneration-development-fund
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