Programme to support Social Enterprises in the recovery from COVID-19
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Monday, 22 February), announced a new €800,000 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme to help Social Enterprises recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Social enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a societal or environmental impact.
The Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme will provide supports through training and mentoring to help social enterprises strengthen their operations and improve their services.
Announcing the programme, Minister Humphreys said
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the invaluable role played by Social Enterprises in their communities.
“Across Ireland throughout the pandemic, Social Enterprises have made an important contribution in areas such as mental health, social inclusion and the circular economy.
“Today, I am delighted to announce the COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme which will help Social Enterprises to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“The programme, which is funded through the Dormant Accounts Fund, will provide free training and mentoring to social enterprise managers, directors and staff across the country.
“It will place a particular focus on strategic planning, digital innovation, capacity building and governance. It will also assist social enterprises to strengthen their operations, and improve their services.”
The Minister added
“The COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme builds on successful schemes for Social Enterprises funded by my Department in recent years, such as the Training and Mentoring Scheme and the Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprises.
“The new funding I am announcing today underscores my commitment to supporting Social Enterprises and to delivering the National Social Enterprise Policy which was published by my Department in 2019.
“The programme will be delivered by the Local Development Companies on a regional basis and will be managed on the Department’s behalf by the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN).
“This will allow ease of access for Social Enterprises in all areas of Ireland, as well as utilising the localised expertise of the Local Development Companies.”
Social Enterprises are businesses whose core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact rather than maximising profit for the business owners or shareholders. Like other businesses, Social Enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving their core social objectives.
They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, the Traveller community, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.
National Social Enterprise Policy
Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 was launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the objective of creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to grow and contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.
The Policy is focused on three main objectives:
1. Building Awareness of Social Enterprise
2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise
3. Achieving Better Policy Alignment
COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme
The COVID-19 Social Enterprise Regeneration Programme will be delivered by Local Development Companies (LDCs), acting in consortia of two or more LDCs at a regional level. Grants of up to €80,000 will be provided to each successful consortium to deliver the programme.
The programme will be administered on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development by the Irish Local Development Network.
Irish Local Development Network
The Irish Local Development Network CLG (ILDN) is the representative body for the 49 Local Development Companies throughout Ireland. LDCs are volunteer-led multi-sectoral partnerships, which deliver community and rural development from a bottom-up perspective
The ILDN supports the LDCs in the delivery of numerous programmes such as LEADER and the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP), with each LDC operating an average of more than 20 distinct programmes. The integrated approach taken by LDCs provides a comprehensive and accessible way for people and community groups to take advantage of employment supports, enterprise grants, social inclusion, training, as well as environmental and well-being supports.
Dormant Accounts Fund
The Dormant Accounts Acts 2001-2012, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.
The main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account or policy holders with their funds in credit institutions or insurance undertakings and in this regard, these bodies are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.
However, in order to utilise the un-used funds in dormant accounts and unclaimed policies to best effect, the legislation also introduced a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed from dormant accounts and unclaimed policies for the purposes of measures to assist:
1. the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged;
2. the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or
3. persons with a disability.
Social Enterprises work in many ways to assist people in these categories.