Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys to provide almost one million euro in COVID funding under Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme

·         Programme to support Social Enterprises in their recovery from COVID-19

·         An estimated 550 Social Enterprises across every region to benefit

·         Delivery of programme to support the objectives under ‘Our Rural Future’

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced the provision of €945,000 to support hundreds of Social Enterprises across the country.

The funding has been awarded to 12 Consortia of Local Development Companies under the COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme.

The LDCs will play a key role in providing training and mentoring supports to approximately 500 Social Enterprises – assisting them in strengthening their operations and improving their services post COVID-19.

Announcing the funding today, Minister Humphreys said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the invaluable role played by Social Enterprises in their communities. Across Ireland throughout this pandemic, Social Enterprises have made an important contribution in areas such as mental health, social inclusion and the circular economy.

“In February, I announced a €800,000 call for proposals from Local Development Companies to provide supports to assist social enterprises in their recovery from COVID-19.

“Given the high level of interest and quality of the applications, I have decided to increase this allocation to €945,000, which will benefit 12 specific projects and hundreds of Social Enterprises.”

Minister Humphreys continued:

“The programme, which is funded through my Department’s Dormant Accounts Fund, will provide free training and mentoring to social enterprise managers, directors and staff across the country.

“It is estimated that over 550 social enterprises will benefit from these supports over the next year, which will build their capacity in areas such as strategic planning, digital innovation, capacity building and governance.

“The COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme builds on successful schemes for Social Enterprises funded by my Department in recent years, such as the Training and Mentoring Scheme and the Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprises.

“This announcement underscores my commitment to supporting Social Enterprises and to delivering the National Social Enterprise Policy 2019-2022 which was published by my Department in 2019.

“The regional rollout of the scheme contributes positively to the commitment under Our Rural Future to deliver a suite of new measures to support the development of Social Enterprises in rural areas and to contribute to job creation locally.

“The programme will be delivered by the Local Development Companies on a regional basis and will be managed on the Department’s behalf by the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN).”

Welcoming the allocations ILDN CEO Joe Saunders said:

“I warmly welcome today’s funding announcement and the increased allocation of much needed supports for Social Enterprises as part of the COVID-19 recovery. This announcement underlines the collaboration between DRCD and the ILDN and will greatly assist our extensive network of Local Development Companies to support Social Enterprises nationwide.”

Full details of the consortia receiving funding under COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme are available on gov.ie.