Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1223, 1225, 1230, 1231, 1232, 1233)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1223. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the options under consideration for volunteer centres that are underfunded; the timeframe in which a decision may be reached regarding these centres, if he expects the necessary funding will be granted for these volunteer centres to continue to operate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13064/19]

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Niamh Smyth

Question:

1225. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the options under consideration regarding an underfunded volunteer centre (details supplied); the timeframe in which a decision will be reached regarding same; if the necessary funding will be granted; if his attention has been drawn to the concern the uncertainty is causing locally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13308/19]

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Tony McLoughlin

Question:

1230. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if an issue involving underfunded volunteer centres will be addressed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14051/19]

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Jack Chambers

Question:

1231. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of plans to fund the 12 volunteer centres that were identified in a report (details supplied) as being underfunded; the timeline for a decision on funding for these centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14061/19]

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Eamon Scanlon

Question:

1232. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the options being examined regarding underfunded volunteer centres; the timeframe in which a decision may be reached in order that certainty can be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14105/19]

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Martin Kenny

Question:

1233. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of his examination of funding criteria for volunteer centres that are in receipt of funding less than €121,016, which his Department identified as the minimum necessary for centres to operate; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that twelve centres received less than this amount in the 2019 allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14139/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1223, 1225 and 1230 to 1233, inclusive, together.

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 in 2017 of a report by Dermot McLaughlin entitled "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 Volunteering 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.