The Irish Department of Rural and Community Development is now seeking proposals for its €1bn regeneration fund which endeavours to revitalise the country’s rural areas over the next decade.

As part of the Project Ireland 2040, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund aims to help and support villages, towns and remote areas through transformational medium and large-scale schemes. Funding of €315mn is being initially allocated on a phased basis over the period of 2019 to 2020, Fundraising Magazine reported.

The types of initiatives which the Fund will support include (but are not limited to):

  • measures to encourage residential living or commercial development in town centres including by investing in vacant buildings
  • improving public spaces in towns and villages and the development of areas and buildings for community facilities
  • projects that support job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation (e.g. development of Digital Hubs, Enterprise Hubs, Creative Hubs, training facilities)
  • measures to tackle social disadvantage
  • tourism initiatives which attract visitors to rural areas
  • improving walking, cycling, and public transport access to and within towns and villages (including improvements to roads, bridges and car parking facilities).
  • the provision and enhancement of recreational or leisure facilities

As part of Category 2 of the Project Ireland 2040 fund, early-stage start-ups will be supported financially until they are financially viable, the Dublin government states.

“Projects could subsequently apply for further funding through Category 1 of the Fund, which supports the delivery and completion of projects which have full planning permission and other necessary consents in place.”

Michael Ring, TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development said, “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to continue to thrive and to help achieve balanced regional growth. It is already making its presence felt in rural Ireland”.

The Fund seeks to support proposals which will drive increased activity in our rural towns and villages and they can relate to, for example, enterprise, culture, community, recreation or tourism development.

It is open to Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, other Government Departments, philanthropic funders, the private sector and communities. The Lead Partner must be a State-funded body but collaboration between parties, including with communities, is strongly encouraged.

The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12 pm on Friday, 28th February 2020. Applications should be submitted electronically on the official application form, which is available on the website of the Department of Rural and Community Development.