Projects supported by the Government funding include a new enterprise hub in Co Clare and a remote working and training facility in Co Laois.
As much of the population around Ireland continues to work from home, an injection of funds is set to benefit 147 rural towns by enhancing public spaces and supporting remote working in these communities.
Today (8 January), Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, TD, announced more than €15.4m in funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
The funding will assist projects to renovate and convert vacant buildings into digital hubs and adapt local community centres to provide remote working and e-learning facilities.
It will also fund a number of outdoor amenities such as walkways, community parks, outdoor cinemas and cycleways.
Humphreys said the past year has shown the need for local communities. “The funding I am announcing today is about helping communities get back on their feet and adapt to the ongoing challenges Covid-19 presents – it will help make our towns and villages safer places to live, work and do business,” she said.
“While remote working was just a concept a year ago, it has now become an everyday working reality for tens of thousands of people as a result of Covid-19. I am pleased to see so many communities embrace this new reality as they seek to develop remote working facilities, e-hubs and co-working spaces.”
Some of the projects that will receive funding include the development of a 10-desk digital innovation hub in Claregalway, Co Galway; a new community café, remote working and training facility in Rathdowney, Co Laois; the restoration of an old school into a multi-purpose community centre and digital hub in Clohamon, Co Wexford; and the regeneration of a derelict building in Newmarket-on-Fergus in Co Clare, which will become an enterprise hub with remote working and hotdesk facilities.
Humphreys said she hopes to see even more remote working hubs in the coming year. “I am pleased to say that I have secured an additional €5m in funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in Budget 2021 specifically for the development of more remote working hubs in our rural towns and villages.”
Outside of remote working facilities, other projects to receive funding include the development of a biodiversity park in Co Waterford, an autism-friendly community park in Co Longford, and a new education facility, nature reserve and recreation space in Co Cavan.
The funding announced today is in addition to €10.4m allocated to 363 towns and villages since August 2020. This brings the total number of projects supported under the 2020 Town and Village Renewal Scheme to more than 500.