I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 and 154 together.
My Department is committed to the successful delivery of the following programmes which have provided financial and other supports to organisations in County Kildare. Funding is being made available under each of these schemes in 2019.
I would encourage community groups and local bodies to submit applications where eligible and I look forward to providing further supports to rural and urban communities in the county moving forward:
- The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which I launched in 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, supports ambitious and strategic projects which have the potential to transform rural economies and communities. Three projects located in County Kildare were awarded funding of €2,865,500 from the first call to the Fund. The second call for applications to the Fund was launched in April 2019, and will close on 6 August 2019.
- The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme is our country’s primary social inclusion intervention. This is a five-year, €190m national programme that is delivered locally, to help those in the greatest need. The funding allocation to Kildare for 2019 is €1,061,036.00.
- The Community Enhancement Programme, which I launched in 2018, has provided funding of €468,671 to projects in Kildare, including more than €26,000 to Men's Sheds groups, which provide a safe space where men can gather and participate in their communities, develop social networks and potentially gain new skills and access information. The funding allocation to Kildare for 2019 is €148,013.00.
- The LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) in Kildare has been allocated €5,261,600 to invest in the economic and social development of County Kildare over the period of the programme to 2020. In 2019, €238,716 has so far been approved for three LEADER projects in Kildare.
- 224 projects were approved for €21.3 million of funding under the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme. This included eight projects totaling €520,000 for Kildare. The closing date for receipt of applications for 2019 is 28 June, and the main focus this year will be on public-realm type activities and the enhancement of town centre amenities. Building on the pilot scheme launched by Minister Ring in October 2018, measures to encourage town centre living will also be welcome.
- The Seniors Alert Scheme facilitates valuable community-based support for vulnerable older people. A total of 1,432 installations have been approved for elderly persons in Kildare since September 2015.
- The Local Improvement Scheme delivers improvement works on small private or non-public roads in rural areas. The scheme is funded by my Department and is administered through the Local Authorities. The funding allocated to Kildare is €250,000 for 2019.
- €85,684 was announced in January 2019 for the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure scheme in Kildare and further funding will be available under the scheme later this year.
- Kildare also received funding of €8,000 which assisted two agricultural shows for 2019.
- A total of 35 Tidy Towns committees in Kildare received €63,000 in funding in 2018. I will consider, later this year, whether I will be in a position to allocate funding to TidyTowns Committees through this particular funding stream in 2019.
- The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model. The funding is provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions. In 2019, the CSP is providing funding of some €440,628 towards the cost of employing approximately 17.5 full-time equivalent positions and three managers in five community based organisations and social enterprises based in County Kildare.
- Two of the five CSP supported organisations were approved for additional support through the CSP Support Fund, which was announced in January to assist organisations that are struggling to meet the current minimum wage requirements in 2019.