The emergence of men's sheds in recent years has been fantastic for communities across Ireland. In towns, villages and cities which I visit as Minister, I am always amazed by the great work that local men's sheds do. They provide a safe and comfortable environment where men of all ages can share skills, work on meaningful projects and connect with their communities.
The Government is committed to supporting these groups. In 2018, a range of supports were available for men's sheds, many of which will be available again in 2019.
Last year, I provided a special men's shed fund under the community enhancement programme. This made €500,000 of ring-fenced funding available to men's sheds groups to carry out minor capital works or to purchase equipment. Men's sheds groups were also eligible to apply for funding under the main community enhancement programme, under which €12.5 million of funding was made available in 2018.
This year, I have announced an initial allocation of €4.5 million for the community enhancement programme and the men's sheds continue to be eligible to apply for funding under this programme.
My Department also has responsibility for SICAP, which provided 40 grants to men's sheds groups in 2018. This support will continue to be available throughout the current SICAP, which runs until 2022.
Additionally, in 2018, under the LEADER 2014-20 programme, ten projects which are for use by groups, including men's sheds, were approved funding to the value of €670,685. This funding stream will continue in 2019.