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Policy Information

The Community Services Programme

Published: 29 November 2018
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports community businesses to provide local services and create employment opportunities for disadvantaged people.

It offers financial support to cover the cost of hiring staff to community companies and co-operatives.

Community Services Programme: Operating Manual


Funding goes towards the cost of employing a manager and/or full-time equivalent position (FTEs). The programme provides €19,033 for every FTE and €32,000 per manager working a 39-hour week. More than €46 million was allocated in 2018, supporting about 1,650 FTEs and 300 managers.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development announced on 16 October 2018 that the Community Services Programme (CSP) Support Fund will continue on a once-off basis in 2019. This will provide an additional €1 million to organisations that are most in need.

Types of Project

Applicants must be not-for-profit social enterprises or businesses with sufficient capacity to undertake service delivery and management of staff.

They must also have sufficient financial resources and ability to generate adequate revenue and prepare a business plan.

There are three main types of projects funded under the Community Services Programme:

  • community services for disadvantaged people (example: home insulation, disability transport, meals-on-wheels day care, social activities, personal security, visitation services, community radio and other media)
  • employing people distant from the labour market including people with disabilities, Travellers, recovering drug misusers and/or ex-prisoners. The company or co-op must demonstrate some form of progression of the workers
  • buildings for community use. This includes halls and facilities which enable the day-to-day operation of community infrastructure

Qualifying Organisations

70% of employees in projects funded under the programme must be:

  • unemployed people getting Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment
  • Travellers in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment
  • in receipt of Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Blind Person’s Pension or other disability payment
  • ex-prisoners
  • stabilised and recovering drug misusers
  • people employed from Tús, Community Employment, Job Initiative schemes, as well as Rural Social Scheme workers who are former CE participants

Further information is available on the Pobal website.

Community Service Programme (CSP) Review: Update

Thank you to all the organisations who took the time to submit feedback on the scope of the CSP review, this element of the consultation process is now complete. The review is being carried out by an independent review body, Indecon Consultants, who were appointed in March 2019. It will take six months and should be completed in early Autumn 2019. There will be consultation at all stages of the review with CSP supported organisations and other stakeholders.