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06 Dec 2021

Helping hand for Laois communities from Covid-19 relief fund top up

euro grant

Grants for communities

Community groups across Laois will be able to apply for a new slice of new tranche of Covid-19 relief funds announced by the Government.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, have today announced a €9 million fund to support community groups impacted by COVID-19. 

The Department of Rural and Community Development says €273,048 is allocated to Laois. It says the Community Activities Fund will support groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, with their running costs such as utility or insurance bills, as well as with improvements to their facilities.

Groups will also be able to use the funding to carry out necessary repairs and to purchase equipment such as tables and chairs, tools and signage, laptops and printers, lawnmowers, canopies and training equipment.

The once-off fund is allocated under the Department’s Community Enhancement Programme and will be administered locally by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) under the auspices of Laois County Council.

In order to allow flexibility, the Department says is not setting a national closing date, but will allow each LCDC to set its own, to best suit its area. However, the Department will require that all closing dates are no later than 28 February 2022. Groups should check with their LCDC for further details.

The money was welcomed by Laois Offaly Government politicians, Minister Seán Fleming, Minister Pippa Hackett and Barry Cowen TD.

“This funding is about giving a helping hand to our local groups and clubs, which have continued to serve their community during COVID-19," said Minister Humphreys.

“These grants may be small in nature, but they help thousands of community organisations, clubs, men’s and women’s sheds, youth centres and parish halls. 

“I would encourage all interested groups to get in touch with their Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) that administers the programme in their area.

“Supporting local communities to shape their future is a key focus of the Government’s new rural development policy, Our Rural Future.  The funding I am announcing today will ensure that important work can continue to be delivered by communities on the ground and I’m delighted that every single county will benefit.”

Minister O’Brien was also pleased with the funding.

“This past year has, once again, shown the importance of a vibrant Community and Voluntary sector. The efforts of local community groups & volunteers throughout the pandemic has been immense and this funding will help to provide practical support to smaller community groups and facilities at a grassroots level across the country. 

“I hope that this will continue to help foster and grow the community spirit that is so evident across Ireland,” he said.

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