Wexford LCDC (Wexford Local Committee Development Committee) recently presented four information evenings around the county on the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2018. Ger Mackey, CEO of Wexford LCDC gave an outline of the scheme while consultants Ann Gallagher and Dr Yvonne Byrne put flesh on the bones.
The purpose of the four meetings was “to prepare Community Action Groups to be in a position to make a competitive application”. Typically grants can be up to €100k, very occasionally larger. The grant offered forms 80% of the total planned expenditure. The community must provide the remaining 20%. This may be half funding, half volunteered labour (the figure of €14 ph was mentioned).
The scheme is all part of the government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. At the launch earlier this year of funding for 2017 then Minister Heather Humphreys said the aim was to continue “to help rural Ireland achieve its full economic and social potential”. It is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and is administered by the Local Authorities. In Co Wexford the scheme is coordinated by LCDC. This year 14 locations across County Wexford benefitted from almost €1.16 million in funding for a wide variety of community-led projects.
A maximum of one application per town/village will be accepted. Applications that show collaboration between community, local enterprise and public sector are welcomed. Those which meet an existing need/demand, are self-financing and can show long term sustainability will get a favourable hearing.
More on the kind of projects which are typically covered:
developing local facilities;
linking towns with local producers;
projects which enhance local assets (natural and built environment, heritage);
consultant-led town health check;
Ger Mackey advised intending applicants to use all available research data available when preparing an application including that available from the CSO and Pobal.
We heard about the steps intending applicants must make before making an application. Examples: ensuring the applicant is a company limited by guarantee; having planning permission in place and, if required, an EIS; quantity surveyor costed with time allowed for tendering. Once funding is approved, time is of the essence as funds must be spent before year’s end.