Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces €20 Million Fund for the construction of new Community Centres

First ever dedicated fund for shovel-ready community projects in our towns and villages

·        Investment of at least €1 million per amenity; Focus on areas which currently lack community facilities

·        Minister Humphreys: This is about delivering ambitious projects that bring communities and families together

 March 31st, 2023 – The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today launched the 2023 Community Centres Investment Fund, which will see €20 million invested in new and ambitious community projects in our towns and villages. 

 For the first time, funding of at least €1 million will be invested in projects that are shovel ready and which are in areas that currently lack community facilities.

 This builds on the highly successful 2022 initiative, which delivered an investment of over €45 million to renovate and upgrade over 850 projects the length and breadth of the country.

 Minister Humphreys made the announcement during a visit to the Oxfield Community Centre in North Sligo, which has just received an investment of €24,000 from her Department.

 Announcing the details of the 2023 scheme today, the Minister said:

 “Our community centres are the lifeblood of our rural villages and indeed our urban centres.

 “They are places that bring people of all ages together.

 “Places where our young people come to socialise and meet up with friends, to take part in activities ranging from soccer to snooker and drama to dance.

“And they are places where our elderly people come simply for a chat – sometimes the only chat they will have on any given day.

“As Minister, I have placed a huge focus on developing and improving community centres nationwide.

 “Last year alone, we invested over €45 million in making over 850 of our community facilities safer, more accessible and more enjoyable places for families.

 “By doing, we have ensured that these great centres remain at the heart of our communities and continue to act as a hive of activity.”

 The Minister continued:

 This year I want to shift the focus of the Community Centres Investment Fund to new builds.

 “This is because I know that we have towns and villages, particularly in Rural Ireland, that have no community centre whatsoever and therefore couldn’t avail of the 2022 funding.

 “And so, I’m delighted to announce €20 million to support communities with shovel-ready plans to build new community centres.

 “I want to assist community groups striving to build their own community centre and to service local needs.

 “I’m excited to see the kind of applications that will be put forward and I’m urging communities to work with their local authorities in submitting ambitious plans.

 “I in particular want to see plans put forward that will make these communities better places to live, work, visit and raise a family.”

 The 2023 New Builds Measure is for new build community centres on brown/green field sites with grant funding of at least €1 million available per project.

Funding for renovations or refurbishment of existing community centres is not eligible but can still be accessed through the Department’s CLÁR Programme, Town and Village Renewal Scheme or LEADER Programme.

The Minister continued:

“I know the vital role that these centres play at the heart of each community in bringing people together and engaging with those who may be marginalised or disadvantaged.

“This Fund will target areas which do not have an appropriate facility to meet the needs of their area.

“It is important that we build strong and safer communities and that we provide such facilities to meet the needs of communities into the future. So I would encourage communities which have shovel-ready projects to apply for funding under this initiative.”

Details of the Community Centres Investment Fund – New Builds Measure and application are available on www.gov.ie/drcd with the closing date for applications on 3rd July 2023.