The Town and Village Renewal Scheme was introduced in 2016 and is one of a series of national and local support measures designed to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland under the Department of Rural & Community Development’s “Rural Development Investment Programme”. It is managed on behalf of the Department by the local authorities. The programme is funded under Project Ireland 2040.
Since the launch of the Scheme in 2016, almost €68 million has been allocated to more than 830 projects across Ireland.
In 2020, the Rural Development Investment Programme, including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, is being tailored to address the emerging challenges associated with COVID-19. For the Town & Village Renewal Scheme this means:
A focus under the standard Town and Village Renewal Scheme on interventions that can respond to the new challenges associated with COVID-19 and support the economic and social recovery of our rural towns and villages;
The introduction of a new strand of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 2020 that focuses on immediate interventions that can be delivered in the short-term to assist towns and villages to adapt to COVID-19.
Examples of types of projects which can be supported
Projects that can respond to COVID-19 challenges and aid the economic and social recovery over the medium term.
The development of initiatives to encourage town centre living.
Initiatives which attract increased footfall to the town/village, including those associated with tourism activities.
Repurposing of existing buildings in town or village centres to facilitate remote working and/or other community use.
Under the 2020 scheme, up to 90% of the total cost for each approved project is provided by the department, with the remaining 10% being provided either through community contribution and/or the local authority.
For a list of projects funded by the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, please see: here
Town Centre Living Pilot Initiative:
The Town Centre Living pilot was announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, in October 2018. The aim of the initiative was to explore how to encourage increased residential occupancy in rural towns and villages and, at the same time, address the issue of vacant properties.
The pilot complements the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, both of which are administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Six towns were identified to pilot the approach and were provided with funding of up to €100,000 each. The towns are:
Ballinrobe, Co Mayo
Banagher, Co Offaly
Boyle, Co Roscommon
Callan, Co Kilkenny
Cappoquin, Co Waterford
Castleblayney, Co Monaghan
The independent report on the pilot Town Centre Living Initiative was prepared by Space Engagers for the Department of Rural and Community Development. Space Engagers is a social enterprise that emerged from a research project in University College Dublin and which explores how towns and cities can be made more resilient and sustainable.
The report brings together the learnings from each of the 6 towns involved in the pilot initiative. It identifies a number of issues that have emerged from the process and includes a set of suggested actions for further consideration in response to each issue.
The Report contains:
Individual accounts of the implementation of the pilot in each town.
A summary of a workshop which included the participants in the pilot and other relevant experts.
A brief discussion on the emerging issues and a series of 15 suggested actions for further consideration.