The Connected Hubs Fund will help expand the facilities of existing hubs with hot desks, office spaces, electric car charging points, upgrades to disability access and more.
The Government has announced a €5m fund to support the development of Ireland’s first National Hub Network and help promote remote working around the country.
The Connected Hubs Fund is part of the five-year rural development strategy revealed last month. Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, TD, announced the fund today (29 April) and said she is determined “that we do not let the opportunities posed by remote working to slip from our grasp”.
Funding will be used to expand the facilities of existing hubs or broadband connection points with hot desks, office spaces and meeting rooms as well as electric car charging points, upgrades to disability access and improved IT facilities. It will also be used to help make hubs more compliant with physical distancing guidelines.
Humphreys said that the fund will make these hubs bigger and more accessible, providing better experiences for workers and students.
It is part of a Government strategy to create a nationwide network of hubs that will be accessible through an app with a booking platform. It has already identified more than 400 remote working hubs across the country and is working to map and survey the services each one offers.
“Hubs provide the perfect opportunity for people to embrace blended working,” Humphreys said. “And by encouraging people to avail of a hot desk or office space in their nearby hub, the local economy also benefits.”
The Government is also developing new hubs through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
The Connected Hubs Fund will offer grants of between €10,000 and €250,000 for projects that will expand existing remote working infrastructure, install privacy booths in hubs, make energy efficiency upgrades and run marketing campaigns to promote using the hubs.
“Over the past 12 months, so many of us have experienced the benefits of remote working – reduced commutes, more time spent with your family, increased footfall in towns, a lower carbon footprint,” said Humphreys.
“As we emerge from this pandemic, the Government is determined to make remote working a permanent reality for thousands of people.”