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Press Release

Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 2019 to encourage increased residential occupancy in town centres – Minister Ring

Published: 16 April 2019
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

Mr Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, today announced the launch of the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme. The scheme supports the rejuvenation of rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000 people through projects that will have a viable, long-term benefit.

For 2019, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will support projects which enhance the town or village centre environment. Building on the pilot scheme launched by Minister Ring in October 2018, it will also place a focus on initiatives which encourage increased residential occupancy in town centres.

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is a key initiative under the Missing link item! and is part of a range of measures to support the revitalisation of rural Ireland under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration Programme.

Launching the 2019 scheme, Minister Ring said:

“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme has become an integral part of the Government’s drive to support rural Ireland. It provides funding of up to €200,000 for projects that make our towns more attractive places in which to live and work.
“Proposals seeking to develop initiatives to encourage town centre living will be particularly welcome, as will projects which stimulate economic activity between a town/village and its neighbouring townlands. I also encourage proposals which have clear positive impacts on a town or village in terms of place-making and town centre regeneration.
“Since the Town and Village Renewal Scheme was introduced in 2016, almost €53 million has been approved for over 670 projects across the country. These projects cover a range of activities, from improving the public realm, to job-creation initiatives such as the development of enterprise hubs and digital hubs. The 2019 scheme which I am announcing today will contribute further to the rejuvenation of rural towns and villages across Ireland.”

The Minister continued:

“The scheme is complementary to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which will provide €1 billion over the next ten years for larger scale, collaborative and transformative projects that will result in a significant economic impact in rural towns and villages and their hinterlands. The minimum grant level under the Rural Regeneration Fund is €500,000.”

As in previous years, the scheme will be administered through the Local Authorities, who will be required to work closely with local communities and local businesses to develop and implement proposals that can make a lasting impact in revitalising rural towns and villages across the country.

Full details of the scheme will be issued to the Local Authorities in the coming days.

In announcing the launch of the 2019 scheme, Minister Ring said:

“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme supports my Department’s mission to promote rural and community development and to support vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities throughout Ireland. It will help build the resilience of rural communities in the face of Brexit and can also contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy through measures based in town centres. I would particularly welcome applications this year from towns and villages that are most in need of support, and towns that did not apply or were unsuccessful in the past.
“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is now in its fourth year and is a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to supporting rural Ireland in a very practical way. I look forward to announcing successful applications later in the year.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Overview

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is an initiative under the Action Plan for Rural Development, and is part of a package of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland through the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration Programme. The Scheme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and administered by the Local Authorities.

Local Authorities will be required to advertise for expressions of interest from towns/villages in their area and can select up to 12 proposals for development into detailed applications to be submitted to the Department by the end of June. Selection of projects will be by means of a competitive process, with the final project selection being made by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Department will write to the Local Authorities in the coming days with full details of the Scheme.

Categories of Town/Villages

Two categories of Town/Villages are eligible for support under the scheme:

Category 1: Towns/villages with a population of less than 5,000 people.

Category 2: Towns with a population of 5,000-10,000 people.

At least of 60% of the funding available will be awarded to Category 1 towns and villages.

Successful proposals will demonstrate close collaboration between communities and business interests in the design and delivery of proposed projects, and must have the support of the Local Authority.

Sustainable impacts

Projects which have clear positive impacts on a town or village in terms of place-making and town centre regeneration, or which stimulate economic activity between a town/village and its neighbouring townlands will be particularly welcome, as will proposals seeking to develop initiatives to encourage town centre living.

Projects which demonstrate leveraging of, or linkages with, other schemes operated by Government Departments or agencies (e.g. in the areas of heritage, arts, culture, tourism, re-use of vacant premises, vacant sites, energy efficiency schemes, etc.) will also be encouraged.

Grant levels

Up to 80% of the total cost of a project under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be provided for any individual project. The minimum grant which is available is €20,000 and the maximum is €100,000. A higher maximum of €200,000 will be considered for a limited number of projects where a strong case can be made demonstrating exceptionally strong benefit to a town and/or its outlying areas.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund supports larger scale projects, with a minimum grant allocation of €500,000. Minister Ring launched the second call for proposals under the Government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund on 12th April. This call for proposals will focus on capital regeneration projects which are ready to commence.

Full details of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, along with the Application Form, are available here.