The scheme of grants for locally-based community and voluntary organisations provides once-off grants which benefit voluntary and community groups who focus on tackling poverty and disadvantage and enhancing community development. Under the scheme, funding is available for: training, education or research initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of local communities and voluntary groups; and the acquisition or refurbishment of premises, or the purchase of equipment and transport.
Each year the number of applications received under the various schemes greatly exceeds the funds available to meet them. Therefore, not all projects can be funded and choices have to be made from within the available resources. The overriding criterion in the allocation of grants is the degree to which the project involved addressed disadvantage and social exclusion and assists in a process of community development. Project and services suitable for funding under other specialised schemes operated by Government agencies are generally not eligible for funding. There may, however, be aspects of such projects and services that qualify. Groups funded under the scheme must account for the expenditure of the grant for the purpose for which it was approved. Further applications for funding are not considered from groups who have not satisfactorily accounted for previous grants received.
Details of all organisations funded under the scheme up to and including 2002, indicating the amount each received, are available in the Oireachtas Library for the information of the Members. Details of organisations funded in 2003 are available on my Department's website, www.pobail.ie. Due to the volume of applications received, details of unsuccessful applicants are not published. The scheme for 2004 will be advertised in the national and provincial newspapers in the near future. The funding available for grants to voluntary organisations for 2004 will be of the order of €2.4 million.