Minister Ring announces €1 million Fund to assist organisations supported under the Community Services Programme

Published 16 October 2018

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has today, announced that he will continue the Community Services Programme (CSP) Support Fund on a once-off basis in 2019, providing an additional €1 million to organisations most in need.

Announcing the funding Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to be in a position to extend the Support Fund in to 2019 but I want to go further; I am expanding the Fund by increasing the number of qualifying organisations that are in receipt of the funding and increasing the contribution from the 2018 level of €350 per full-time equivalent position to €1,100.”

The Minister continued: “This will return the Fund to the original 2016 contribution, but with the additional organisations it will be increased to just under €1 million. I hope that this will go some way to assist organisations that are struggling to meet the minimum wage levels.”

The Support Fund is being extended on a once-off basis in 2019 pending completion of the CSP review. The review will consider, among other things, the extent to which CSP supports should align with the minimum wage and will make recommendations on funding structures post-2019.

The Minister added: “I know that the Fund will not entirely bridge the gap between my Department’s contribution and the minimum wage, but it will help alleviate the financial challenges faced by smaller CSP supported organisations and maintain their viability pending the completion of the CSP review in 2019.”

It is expected that some 200 organisations will qualify for the Fund. A desk-based financial assessment of the existing supported organisations will be carried out to identify which organisations qualify. This will remove the need for organisations to apply for the Fund.

In concluding, the Minister thanked the CSP supported organisations across the country for their ongoing commitment and work: “I want to commend and acknowledge the fantastic services that are being delivered by CSP supported organisations across the county. They are providing vital services, giving employment and keeping the heart of our communities alive.”

ENDS

Notes to Editor

The Community Services Programme (CSP) was introduced in 2006 to stimulate and support the social economy. It currently supports 417 community-based organisations to provide local social, economic and environmental services through a social enterprise model, helping them to meet local service gaps and provide access to services and facilities that would otherwise generally be unavailable.

More than €46m is allocated to the CSP in 2018. CSP funding is provided as a fixed annual contribution towards the cost of employing a manager and/or an agreed number of fulltime equivalent (FTE) positions, with €32,000 per annum provided per manager and €19,033 per annum per FTE position. The programme supports c.1,650 FTE and c.300 manager positions.

The CSP contribution is not aligned with the minimum wage and CSP supported organisations are expected to contribute to the cost of the funded positions and pay a reasonable and adequate rate of pay in line with market rates. At a minimum, organisations must meet the minimum wage for all FTE positions.

The CSP Support Fund was established in 2016 to give organisations time to strengthen their revenue generating capacity and help them secure their long-term sustainability. Following a closed call for applications, some 160 organisations were approved for funding for a period of between one to three years. Support has been provided on a sliding scale over the period 2016 to 2018 as follows –

  • €1,100 per FTE for 2016
  • €700 per FTE for 2017
  • €350 per FTE for 2018

Around 130 organisations are currently supported by the fund, which is due to end this year.

2019 Support Fund

Funding of €1,100 per FTE will be provided on a once-off basis to qualifying organisations in 2019. It is expected it will support c. 850 FTE positions in some 200 organisations. The cost of the fund will be c.€1 million.

Pobal will identify qualifying organisations through a desk-based financial assessment of supported organisations. Organisations will not be required to apply directly for support. They will automatically qualify if –

  1. they are currently paying less than the minimum wage for 2019 (€9.80 per hour); or
  2. they are paying €9.80 per hour but are considered to be in poor financial health; or
  3. their financial health is reasonably sound, but the difference between the existing rate of pay and the new minimum wage is less than €0.50 per hour and the new minimum wage will negatively impact the organisation’s financial situation.

The assessment will be completed in December 2018 and grant support will be payable from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019.​