Minister Pippa Hackett

Green Party Minister welcomes €15m fund to revitalise Offaly towns and villages

Derelict sites across county Offaly are due to get a much-needed facelift with the announcement of a €15m fund to revitalise rural towns and villages.

Grants from €20,000 to €500,000 are to be made available to tackle dereliction, which is to be a key focus of the new scheme announced today (Monday) by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.

In welcoming the announcement, local Green Party Minister, Pippa Hackett, said it would “empower local communities” to carry out projects in their areas, and she encouraged all local groups and organisations to put ideas forward for the scheme.

“I have every confidence in Offaly County Council to make applications and the increase in the grants from a maximum of €200,000 to a maximum of €500,000 enables local communities to be more ambitious” said Minister Hackett.

Funding is to be made available to turn vacant buildings in town centres into remote working hubs, enterprise spaces, and cultural, tourism and community hubs, and the scheme will also encourage collaborative projects to upgrade shop fronts and to inject street facades with “colour and vibrancy.” Investment in green spaces in town centres will also be a priority in the new scheme.

With a renewed emphasis on remote working, the newly enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme is to engage in a high profile marketing campaign to attract remote workers to rural Ireland as a means of breathing new life into rural communities and making them more attractive places “to live, work, socialise and raise a family” according to today’s Press Statement.

The initiative is a key part of “Our Rural Future” – the Government’s five year strategy to revitalise rural Ireland.

In launching the new scheme today, Minister Humphreys said she wanted to see Local Authorities “engaging with local businesses and property owners on our main streets and putting forward collaborative projects” to upgrade shop fronts and enhance streetscapes.

“Support is also available for murals in our town centres , perhaps dedicated to local cultural or sporting personalities and events” said the Minister, who added that the aim of this initiative is “all about adding colour and vibrancy to our town and villages making them more attractive places to live, work in and visit.”

A new feature of the enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2021 is a Project Development Measure, which allows Local Authorities to apply for grant funding of up to 90% development costs for one strategic large scale project, which can subsequently be progressed through the scheme.

Funding of up to €50,000 at a 90% rate of aid is available for this one large scale project and only one proposal can be submitted from each Local Authority.

Full details of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2021 are now available on www.gov.ie

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