The Government's recovery and resilience plan, published on Tuesday, does acknowledge the importance of communities working together at this challenging time. Community centres, as Deputy Paul Donnelly knows, are often the focal point for vital activities that can foster community resilience. The most relevant programme in my Department is the community services programme to community centres. Overall, the community services programme funds approximately 400 community organisations and earlier this year a support fund of €1.2 million was put in place, providing additional funding to many of these organisations, many of which suffered loss of income due to Covid-19, as they are partially dependent on revenue-raising through renting out spaces, cafés and so on.
My Department also introduced a package of supports for community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises in the context of Covid-19, which included a stability fund of up to €35 million. Some community centres met eligibility criteria for this and are receiving funding from the fund.
The 2020 community enhancement programme, which was launched in June and has funding of €2 million provides small capital grants to community organisations. Separately, under the July stimulus, a €5 million fund was launched for repairs and upgrades to community centres and community buildings. Details can be found on the website.
The overarching rural development investment programme has been tailored to address the emerging challenges associated with Covid-19. This includes the town and village renewal scheme, which is currently open for applications. Improvements to community centres have been funded through this scheme in the past.
My Department will continue to work with relevant stakeholders, including the community and voluntary sector, local authorities and local development companies, to support community organisations across the country as they deal with the ongoing and emerging challenges presented by Covid-19.