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Written Answers. - Departmental Funding.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 434. Mr. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  the extent to which and the headings under which his Department is likely to provide grant aid towards community based socially or culturally enhancing projects; if all applications in this regard require formal application forms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24784/02]

[1171]Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív My Department provides supports to local self help and community development initiatives through a range of once off grant schemes and long-term funding programmes. The schemes are aimed at helping people to develop the confidence and the capacity to participate as partners alongside statutory agencies and others in local development initiatives; to concentrate on a wide range of support for local self help groups and community development; and on the provision of seed money to enable community groups to pilot initiatives identified as meeting new and emerging community needs.

To be eligible for funding groups must subscribe to a self help, community development ethos and must involve the intended beneficiaries in the management and design of the project. The schemes are aimed at developing people and their capacity to participate in society, rather than at the provision of services or at direct economic development or job creation initiatives.

The once-off grant schemes operated by the Department to support community development and family support groups are as follows. Under the scheme of grants to voluntary organisations, once off grants may be made to help voluntary and community groups working with disadvantaged groups or in disadvantaged areas. The grants may be made for renovation or acquisition of premises, the purchase of equipment or transport, once off publications or research or other special projects. Grants towards wages or salaries or other running costs are not available under this scheme.

The scheme of grants to locally based community and family support groups provides grants to locally based community and family support groups involved in programmes of self help and personal development designed to tackle poverty and disadvantage and improve family life. The range of projects undertaken includes home management programmes, advice services, self development programmes, community education, foundation and pre-vocational skills courses, skills development, young parents groups, projects for women affected by family violence, projects for marginalised men, Travellers projects, leadership skills, community development and “first step” courses leading to personal and community development.

The purpose of the community development education and training grants scheme is to fund training and education initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of local community and voluntary groups, for example, programmes which strengthen and increase the skills and knowledge of management committees and others active in community and voluntary organisations. Examples of the types of training eligible include management/organisational development, social analysis, media skills and analysis and leadership skills.

[1172]The aim of the community development support programmes or CDSPs is to support locally based groups involved in anti-poverty and social inclusion initiatives in their communities. The programmes supported by the Department under the CDSPs are as follows. The community development programme or CDP was established in 1990 in recognition of the role of community development in tackling poverty and disadvantage. This scheme provides core funding for community development projects in communities experiencing social and economic disadvantage. The aim of the CDP is to develop a network of community development projects in these communities. The programme also includes groups which act as a resource for community development work with particular interest groups, for example, Travellers and women. Five offshore island development groups are funded as a subset of the community development programme since 1994. These are English speaking islands.

Under the programme of core funding to locally based community and family support groups or CFG the Department has, since 1994 supported women's groups and networks involved in anti-poverty work in their communities. This programme has been extended in recent years to provide support to a range of locally based community and family support groups. Under this programme the Department supports locally based groups with a specific anti-poverty focus who work with a specific target group, that is, Traveller groups, women's groups and networks, men's groups and networks, lone parent groups, etc.

The focus of the work of projects is on marginalised groups and/or disadvantaged areas, groups and individuals who live in geographical communities, or communities of interest, experiencing high levels of poverty and social exclusion, such as Travellers, people with disabilities, people who parent alone without sufficient supports, unemployed people or those who are excluded from the labour market, elderly people living in isolated circumstances, women who lack opportunities for their own growth and development, disadvantaged young people and homeless people.

New groups entering the CDP will be expected to adhere to the principles of the community development programme and undertake the core functions of the programme. They should have a commitment to an anti-poverty focus, provide support and act as a catalyst for community development activity, act as a resource in the communities of which they are part, promote co-ordination and co-operation between community, voluntary and statutory groups in the area-interest, involve at all levels within the project, including their management structures, local people drawn from groups who themselves experience poverty and social exclusion, ensure the active participation of people who are the focus of the project in the structures and activities of the project and demonstrate a commitment, in [1173] principle and practice, to operate from an equality perspective.

Projects not recognised as charities by the Revenue Commissioners are required to have a current tax clearance certificate. The following factors are considered in respect of the area or community: levels of poverty-disadvantage; level of community development activity in the area or within the community of interest, as distinct from other voluntary activity; the need for a community development resource centre or project as opposed to other community work; the desirability of a geographical spread of projects; complementarity with other local, regional and national level programmes.

There is no standard application form for these programmes. Community groups wishing to apply for inclusion in the CDSPs should apply directly to the voluntary and community services section of my Department.

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