Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (616, 617, 621, 622, 624, 625)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

616. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the action he has taken arising from a report (details supplied); the options for funding being considered; if there is a timeframe for a final decision; if he is working with all of the volunteer centres affected by the underfunding of the services; if an interim agreement on funding will be reached to support the centres while a long-term plan is being devised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11636/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

617. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the options under consideration for the funding of underfunded volunteer centres; the timeframe for a decision on the matter; and if additional funding will be made available. [11808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

621. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied) and the content of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11907/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

622. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the plans he is considering to assist under-resourced volunteer centres; when additional funding will be made available to these groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11908/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

624. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when the recommendations of the report Developing Funding Criteria for Volunteer Centres in Ireland will be implemented (details supplied); the options being considered; the timescale in which these decisions will be reached; if the necessary funding will be granted to services such as those in counties Westmeath and Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12042/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

625. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on a report (details supplied) which identified the minimum funding necessary for centres as €121,016; the options being considered for volunteer groups that are underfunded and fall significantly below this amount; when a decision may be reached; and if the necessary funding will be granted. [12193/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 616, 617, 621, 622, 624 and 625 together.

My Department's community and voluntary supports and programmes unit provide a cohesive framework of support for the community and voluntary sector. €3.5 million is being provided in 2019 under this programme to support 21 volunteer centres, eight volunteering information services and a number of volunteer-supporting organisations, such as Volunteer Ireland.

Following the publication of the 2017 Dermot McLaughlin report "Developing Funding Criteria for Volunteer Centres in Ireland", my Department secured additional funding of €300,000 which was allocated to all Volunteer Centres in 2017 on a proportionate basis. This increased funding level has been maintained in 2018 and 2019.

The Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2018 included the provision of €1.2 million to upgrade the eight Volunteer Information Services to full Volunteer Centres in order to provide a consistent level of volunteering service nationwide. My Department is currently engaging with stakeholders in the roll-out of this initiative. As part of this exercise, my Department is also examining options with regard to a number of existing Volunteer Centres which are currently receiving less funding than the minimum amount recommended in the McLaughlin report.

My Department is also currently collating information received from a recent call for input exercise that was designed as a first step towards developing a draft national volunteering strategy. Among the topics under consideration in this context is the issue of volunteering support infrastructure and how best this can be structured to support volunteering.