Communities across the country can access many different sources of funding and supports and I am delighted that many of these are delivered by my Department.
The recent series of regional Rural Opportunity events highlighted the funding opportunities available to those in rural communities across Government. It was inspiring at these events to hear from people who have used Government supports to improve the quality of life in their communities. Government funding is being used to create jobs, develop community facilities and tourism offerings and generally improve quality of life for those in rural communities.
The response to these events has been overwhelmingly positive to date and my hope is that individuals and communities will be encouraged to take their own ideas or projects forward.
I want to do all I can to help communities access the funding that is available. I therefore asked my Department to review the applications process for a number of funding programmes to ensure it is understandable and fit for purpose.
I also know that there are some groups or community organisations that may not have considered seeking funding because they don’t have the experience of submitting funding applications or lack understanding of the criteria in place.
To help these groups, I am currently running a series of 'Helping Hands' events nationwide to make groups more aware of funding programmes, and to provide practical guidance on making applications. The fifth event was in Tullamore yesterday evening and the final event takes place in Darndale, in Dublin, tomorrow.
These events provide hints and tips on how to make a better funding application and how to identify local supports that community groups can draw upon.
My hope is that these events and other ongoing measures will ensure that our funding has the broadest possible reach and that all eligible groups have the opportunity to access available supports.