Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (325)

Joan Burton


325. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans regarding the 12 volunteer centres for 2019 for which the allocations were significantly below an amount in a particular centre (details supplied); the options under consideration to ensure these centres are sufficiently funded; if the necessary funding will be granted; and the timeframe in which a decision may be reached. [12609/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department's community and voluntary supports and programmes unit provide a cohesive framework of support for the community and voluntary sector. €3.5 million is being provided in 2019 under this programme to support 21 volunteer centres, eight volunteering information services and a number of volunteer-supporting organisations, such as Volunteer Ireland.

Following the publication of the 2017 Dermot McLaughlin report "Developing Funding Criteria for Volunteer Centres in Ireland", my Department secured additional funding of €300,000 which was allocated to all Volunteer Centres in 2017 on a proportionate basis. This increased funding level has been maintained in 2018 and 2019.

The Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2018 included the provision of €1.2 million to upgrade the eight Volunteer Information Services to full Volunteer Centres in order to provide a consistent level of volunteering service nationwide. My Department is currently engaging with stakeholders in the roll-out of this initiative. As part of this exercise, my Department is also examining options with regard to a number of existing Volunteer Centres which are currently receiving less funding than the minimum amount recommended in the McLaughlin report.

My Department is also currently collating information received from a recent call for input exercise that was designed as a first step towards developing a draft national volunteering strategy. Among the topics under consideration in this context is the issue of volunteering support infrastructure and how best this can be structured to support volunteering.