I launched the new Community Enhancement Programme in May of this year. I originally allocated €4.5 million to the programme. Based on positive feedback from communities around the country I recently allocated an additional €8 million to the programme.
Under the original RAPID programme (which closed in 2011), specific geographical areas - known as RAPID areas - were designated to receive funding. Under the Community Enhancement Programme which has replaced it, funding is not ring-fenced for specific areas but is allocated to each Local Authority area taking account of its population and its relative deprivation level, using the Pobal Hasse deprivation index.
The Local Community Development Committee in each area then allocates funding locally to community groups, in order to address disadvantage as identified in the Local Economic and Community Plan. This means that up-to-date data and local knowledge is used to direct funding to those most who need it most. It is a more effective, flexible and locally responsive approach to addressing disadvantage than ring-fencing geographical areas as under the original RAPID programme.
The new approach was put in place following a review of the Communities Facilities Scheme and the re-cast RAPID programme that operated in 2017, and also takes into account a value-for-money review of the original RAPID programme.
My Department also provides other funding streams to support disadvantaged communities, including the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP).