I am delighted to announce that the €15 million Town and Village Renewal Scheme has been launched today.
I am urging East Galway communities, businesses and organisations to apply for funding.
The scheme will support in particular projects that aid the recovery of our communities in response to COVID-19.
It is part of a €30 million package of supports that my department, the Department of Rural and Community Development, is announcing this week.
The other elements are CLÁR funding of €5 million for areas of population decline, which was announced on Monday and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, which will be announced later this week.
These measures are vital for the support and sustainability of Rural Ireland and I am delighted that the €15 million for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will maintain the same level of funding we announced for the scheme last year.
The scheme will offer projects up to €200,000 in funding and many areas of Galway East have benefited from it in the past.
Last year Corofin, Craughwell, Killimor and Ballyglunin each received €100,000 for enhancement projects, while in 2018 Tuam, Lawrencetown, Woodford and Headford all received funding of €100,000 with Athenry receiving the maximum of €200,000 for the Bia Innovator Food Campus.
While Galway County Council will lead the applications, we are encouraging businesses and communities to bring forward project ideas and plans with the overall aim of supporting our towns and villages to be more attractive and sustainable.
Nationally, the scheme has funded more than 800 projects to the value of almost €68 million since it was first introduced in 2016.
This year, in the context of COVID-19, the emphasis will be on economic and social recovery for our towns and villages. This could include public realm projects to make our communities more accessible or to promote enterprise hubs and remote working.
There is also a stand-alone measure to provide accelerated support for public health requirements, such as social distancing and those which will encourage an increase in footfall as our towns and villages re-open.
The new measure will include a simplified application and approval process to enable projects linked to COVID-19 recovery to be delivered quickly.
Funding under the new measure would be up to €25,000 per project increasing to €40,000 for high-impact proposals. Projects could involve initiatives such as re-purposing areas to encourage street trading, online business campaigns for retailers or small scale events that would boost activity in village and town centres in a safe, attractive way.
I am pleased that my ministerial colleague Michael Ring TD has increased the maximum funding rate for projects from 80% to 90% this year to keep the match funding requirement for businesses, communities and local authorities to a minimum.
The closing date for standard submissions is August 28 2020. Applications under the new measure for accelerated intervention will be delivered through two funding rounds with closing dates of July 3 and August 14.