The Irish Department of Rural and Community Development is seeking proposals for its €1 billion regeneration fund which will support a range of projects over the next 10 years.
Under Project Ireland 2040, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will support the renewal of small towns, villages and outlying rural areas through transformative large-scale projects. Initial funding of €315 million is being allocated on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022.
The types of initiatives which the Fund will support include (but are not limited to):
• measures to encourage residential living or commercial development in town centres including by investing in vacant buildings
• improving public spaces in towns and villages and the development of areas and buildings for community facilities
• projects that support job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation (e.g. development of Digital Hubs, Enterprise Hubs, Creative Hubs, training facilities)
• measures to tackle social disadvantage
• tourism initiatives which attract visitors to rural areas
• improving walking, cycling, and public transport access to and within towns and villages (including improvements to roads, bridges and car parking facilities).
• the provision and enhancement of recreational or leisure facilities
Category 2 of the Fund will support the early development of projects to enable them to reach a stage where the concept is developed to a high standard and the project is in a position to commence works. Projects could subsequently apply for further funding through Category 1 of the Fund, which supports the delivery and completion of projects which have full planning permission and other necessary consents in place.
Announcing the opening of this call for the Fund, Minister Ring said: “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to continue to thrive and to help achieve balanced regional growth. It is already making its presence felt in rural Ireland”.
The Fund is open to Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, other Government Departments, philanthropic funders, the private sector and communities. The Lead Partner must be a State-funded body but collaboration between parties, including with communities, is strongly encouraged.
The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12pm on Friday, 28 February 2020. Applications should be submitted electronically on the official application form, which is available on the website of the Department of Rural and Community Development.