I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 and 218 together.
The Sports Capital Programme (SCP) as operated by my Department provides funding to voluntary, sporting and community organisations for the provision of sports and recreational facilities and the purchase of sports equipment. Over 12,000 projects have now benefited from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to close to €1 billion. The programme has transformed the sporting landscape of Ireland with improvements in the quality and quantity of sporting facilities in virtually every village, town and city in the country.
The Programme’s objectives are to:
- Assist voluntary and community organisations, national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport, local authorities and Education and Training Boards and schools to develop high quality, accessible, safe, well-designed, sustainable facilities in appropriate locations and to provide appropriate equipment to help maximise participation in sport and physical recreation.
- Prioritise the needs of disadvantaged areas and groups (such as people with disabilities) in the provision of sports facilities.
- Encourage the sharing of sports facilities by clubs, community organisations and national governing bodies of sport
Details of all allocations under the programme are available on my Department's website at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/471ed5-sports-capital-allocations/
The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on Friday 19th October last. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding. 186 of these applications were for projects that were deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme that subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.
619 equipment only applications were assessed next and 466 allocations with a value of €9.8m were announced to these organisations in May.
Work is now underway in assessing the remaining applications for capital works. For the first time, applicants who submitted incorrect documentation under this round are being given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a further number of weeks to have all applications assessed with allocations announced shortly after that. As soon as allocations have been made, my Department will carry out a review of all aspects of the 2018 round of the programme to include any possible improvements for the future. This review will include consideration of the timing and scale of the next round.
In relation to larger capital projects, the National Sports Policy which was published last year provided for the establishment of a new Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). The aim of the fund is to provide support for larger sports facilities where the Exchequer investment is greater than the maximum amount available under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP). These may be projects where the primary objective will be to increase active participation in sport or large scale venues/stadia where the focus is more related to social participation and high performance sport. The new fund is designed to provide a transparent and robust system for funding such projects.
The Government has provided a capital allocation of at least €100m for the period to 2027 for the LSSIF. The new scheme closed for applications on the 17th April with applications initially confined to local authorities and National Governing Bodies of sport. By the closing date, 72 applications were received. Details of all applications received have been published on the Department's website along with the evaluation procedures and guidelines.
Assessment work is continuing in the Department but in view of the detailed information contained in each application, it will take a number of months to have all of this work complete. Accordingly, I expect that it will be towards the end of this year before any allocations are announced.