Wexford County Council Press Release – Friday 6 October, 2017.
14 locations across County Wexford are set to benefit from almost €1.16 million in funding for a wide variety of community-led projects. The welcome news was announced on Wednesday last by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, when he gave details of grant allocations totalling more than €26 million to 281 towns and villages across Ireland under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
The Wexford applications submitted under the Scheme were identified by their respective local community groups and businesses, in conjunction with Wexford County Council. Approved projects range from employment initiatives to tourism amenities and other measures aimed to help make small towns and villages a more attractive and more sustainable places in which to live and work.
Under the Scheme, the majority of funding is earmarked for towns and villages with a population of 5000 of less, with each county council invited to submit up to 15 applications to the Department of Rural and Community Development for consideration. Following a call for submissions, Wexford County Council received applications from communities in more than 30 towns and villages across County Wexford. In conjunction with the applicants, the Council then faced the unenviable task of assessing the applications under the Scheme criteria and selecting the 15 to go forward to the Department for consideration.
The 15 applications put forward by the Council for consideration together with 15 applications from each other local authority were then examined in detail by the Department. Wednesday’s announcement by Minister Ring of the selection of 281 projects from all over Ireland was the outcome of that process.
Welcoming the announcement, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Councillor John Hegarty paid tribute to all local community groups and associations across County Wexford and commended them on their continuing efforts to improve their local areas.
“Wexford’s towns and villages are the focus of the social, commercial and civic life of their wider communities” said Councillor Hegarty. “These towns and villages have felt the impact of the economic challenges of recent years more acutely than cities and larger urban centres. Community groups all over County Wexford have made remarkable progress in addressing these challenges within their communities and exploiting the unique economic opportunities of their local areas. This success can usually be attributed to a small group of selfless and like- minded individuals who care passionately about their local area and who are willing to make significant effort to help their community develop and thrive.
This funding will provide much needed financial support to these community leaders in their continued efforts to harness the regeneration potential of their local towns and villages to support economic recovery.
Wexford County Council is proud to have played a role in mentoring and supporting the applications of these hard-working groups so that they could compete successfully at national level for funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. We are confident that this significant funding will enable these vibrant communities to realise their full potential and will support their efforts to increase enterprise and job creation opportunities locally, making their community a more attractive sustainable place in which to live, work and visit.”
CEO of Wexford County Council, Tom Enright also warmly welcomed the announcement of funding for the Wexford applications.
“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme will empower local communities in County Wexford and make their voices heard” said Mr. Enright. “Projects undertaken under the Scheme will help to enhance local services and build better communities by increasing the attractiveness of the town or village as a local commercial and social centre, and as a result increase its sustainability as a place in which to live and work.
The Scheme will also provide for the enhancement of the towns/village environment and amenities in the interests of residents, businesses, and visitor. A number of our communities will now have the supporting funding necessary to promote their town/village’s potential for tourism and as a centre for culture and local heritage, thus enhancing local people’s sense of identity - physically and socially.
He continued “I particularly welcome the fact that this Scheme places a strong emphasis on projects which demonstrate capacity to support the economic development of towns and villages as well as their neighbouring townlands. “As such, this programme will very much complement and contribute to the Council’s own ambitious programme of job creation and economic development initiatives in our four main towns. I am confident that together, these investments will contribute to a major transformation in the economic and social landscape of County Wexford and help to correct the historic deficiencies in Wexford’s job creation and enterprise infrastructure.
I add my voice to that of the Cathaoirleach in congratulating the successful groups, to assure them of the continued support of Wexford County Council and to wish them every success in their endeavours. I also wish to thank Ger Mackey and his team in the Community Department of the Council for their excellent work in supporting the various communities through the application process and helping them to gain approval for their respective projects.”
The Community Department of Wexford County Council is already carrying out preparatory work on the 2018 Town and Village Scheme and looks forward to assisting many other communities throughout the County with the development of more exciting project applications. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The Town and Village Renewal scheme is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, and is part of a suite of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. It is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and is administered by the Local Authorities.
The delivery of an enhanced Town and Village Scheme was a commitment in the Programme for A Partnership Government and the Action Plan for Rural Development. Under the 2017 scheme, up to 80% of the total cost for each approved project will be provided by the Department, with the remaining 20% being provided either through community contribution and/or the Local Authority.
A wide variety of projects have been approved under the 2017 scheme These projects have been identified by local community groups and businesses, in conjunction with their Local Authorities. Projects approved range from employment initiatives to tourism amenities, and other measures aimed to help make small towns and villages a more attractive and more sustainable places in which to live and work.