My Department assists the training and development of voluntary workers through a range of measures. I welcome the opportunity to outline these to the Deputy and to advise of current developments. The Deputy should note that these schemes do not differentiate between urban and rural communities.
My Department operates a range of once-off grant schemes which concentrate on the provision of support for local self-help groups and community development. These grant schemes are aimed at developing people and their capacity to participate in society.
The community development education and training grants scheme has a specific focus on the training and development of voluntary workers. Under this scheme, funding is provided to local community and voluntary groups towards training and education programmes which strengthen and increase the skills and knowledge of management committees and others active in community and voluntary organisations. The once-off grant schemes for 2003 will be advertised later in the year. In addition, regional support agencies have been contracted by my Department to provide ongoing advice and support to projects in the community development support programmes. In this context, training and development supports are provided to the voluntary management committees of the projects to help them develop the necessary skills associated with running community development projects.