The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, T.D., today launched the first call for proposals under the Government’s new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
The Fund will provide €1 billion in investment over the next 10 years to support the renewal of small towns, villages and outlying rural areas, as part of Project Ireland 2040. Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated to the Fund on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022. The Fund will be administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Announcing the opening of the Fund, Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to announce the first call for proposals under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund today. The Fund is an important part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 initiative and will provide €1 billion of investment for small towns, villages and rural areas across Ireland over the next 10 years.
“The €1 billion will leverage further funding from the public, private and community sectors by way of matching contributions. This Fund will support investments of significant scale, with a grant value of at least €500,000. It will support ambitious, collaborative projects in rural settlements of less than 10,000 people and outlying areas, and will contribute to sustainable rural regeneration and improve the quality of life of our rural communities. The Fund will also support job creation in rural areas.”
The types of initiatives which the Fund will support include (but are not limited to):
- Measures to encourage residential living or commercial development in town centres including by investing in vacant buildings
- Improving public spaces in towns and villages and the development of areas and buildings for community facilities
- Projects that support job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation (e.g. development of Digital Hubs, Enterprise Hubs, Creative Hubs, training facilities)
- Measures to tackle social disadvantage
- Tourism initiatives which attract visitors to rural areas
- Improving walking, cycling, and public transport access to and within towns and villages (including improvements to roads, bridges and car parking facilities)
- The provision and enhancement of recreational or leisure facilities
The Minister added: “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the fabric of rural Ireland and make a significant and sustainable positive impact on rural communities. The scale of the Fund shows that this Government understands the need for proper investment in rural areas and that it is committed to supporting rural Ireland. For those who live in rural parts of Ireland, the new Fund being announced today provides an opportunity to make a real difference to their quality of life, to their connectivity and to their future.
“The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will be a key instrument to support the objectives of Project Ireland 2040, and, in particular, to achieving strengthened rural economies and communities.”
The Fund will be open to Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, other Government Departments, philanthropic funders, the private sector and communities. The Lead Partner must be a State-funded body.
The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 27 September 2018 and it is anticipated that successful projects will be announced in late October/early November. A further call for proposals under the Fund will be announced in the first half of 2019.
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/