The TidyTowns competition was originally launched by Fáilte Ireland over 60 years ago. Since its inception, the competition has grown from 52 entrants in 1958, to 883 entrants in 2018. The continued success of the competition is due to the countless hours of effort from TidyTowns Committees the length and breadth of the country.
As Minister for Rural and Community Development, I was delighted to be in a position to announce grant funding to TidyTowns Committees of €1.4 million for each of the years 2017 and 2018, to mark the 60th anniversary of the competition. This funding has allowed the Committees to prepare better for the annual competition through the purchase or upgrade of small equipment and other materials.
Under the 2017 allocation, 906 TidyTowns Committees received grant funding of between €1,000 and €4,000 each, depending on the size of their town or village.
Under the 2018 allocation, 722 TidyTowns Committees have received similar levels of funding to date, with a number of applications still to be processed.
I will consider later this year whether I will be in a position to allocate funding to the TidyTowns Committees through this particular funding stream in 2019. However, it should be noted that TidyTowns Committees can apply, as community groups, for funding from other schemes within my Department, such as the Community Enhancement Programme. This programme is administered through the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs).
In 2018, 158 applications were approved for funding of €536,816 for TidyTowns Committees under the Community Enhancement Programme.