Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has launched the 2023 Town and Village Renewal Scheme – a €15 million Fund designed to revitalise and regenerate our rural towns and villages.
The Fund will support dozens of projects nationwide with a focus on tackling vacancy and dereliction and bringing additional footfall into the centre of our towns.
Grants will be made available to support the development of outdoor projects such as plazas, parks, playgrounds and green spaces.
Under the initiative, funding will be provided to local authorities to acquire land for regeneration purposes.
Farmer and artisan markets will be supported under the scheme and there will also be funding ring-fenced for projects on our offshore island communities.
Launching the 2023 Scheme, Minister Humphreys said, “I’m really pleased today to launch the 2023 Town and Village Renewal Scheme which will see €15 million invested to develop dozens of projects right across the country. To date, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme has had a hugely positive impact in rural communities in every single county. It has supported the regeneration and repopulation of our towns and villages – making them better places to live, work, invest and raise a family. This year, there will be a particular focus on tackling issues such as vacancy and dereliction and supporting projects that will bring additional footfall into our town centres. I am also keen to support outdoor projects such as new plazas, parks, playgrounds and green spaces. And there will funding available for towns and villages that wish to develop their own farmer or artisan markets which are extremely popular amenities for families and visitors alike. I am also pleased to announce that funding will be ring-fenced to support projects in our island communities.”
Priority will be afforded to projects that align with the objectives of Our Rural Future, Town Centre First and Our Living Islands with a focus on:
- Investment in infrastructure to support town and village centre markets.
- Bringing vacant and derelict buildings back into use a multi-purpose community spaces, or to address remote working needs.
- Investing in the development of parks, green spaces and recreational amenities in town centres.
- A new option to allow local authorities to acquire plots of land to enable development of town regeneration, such as town parks, plazas etc.
- Refurbishment of existing community centres.
The Minister continued, “’Our Rural Future’, the Government’s ambitious policy for rural development, is very much focussed on supporting the regeneration of our rural towns and villages. Additionally, the Town Centre First Policy is a cross-government policy that aims to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres. This year’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme has been closely aligned with these two policies – and it will directly support our towns to be more attractive and economically and socially vibrant. I am strongly encouraging local authorities to work closely with communities to put forward projects that are ambitious and will make a positive difference.”
Since the launch of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, over €154 million has been allocated to more than 1,700 projects. The Scheme has made an important contribution to supporting vibrant and sustainable communities in towns and villages throughout Ireland.
The scheme is administered through the local authorities, who are required to work closely with local communities and local businesses to develop and implement proposals.
The Scheme typically funds rural towns and villages with a population of up to 10,000 people. Larger rural towns with a population of up to 15,000 people may be eligible where the application is particularly strong and the project will have a significant impact on the town in question.
The Minister concluded, “there are still some small towns and villages that have not yet benefited from the Scheme, so I would encourage all of these towns and villages, in particular, to consider applying for funding under the 2023 Scheme. This funding represents a real opportunity for communities to access investment in their own towns and villages, and continues to support the delivery of the Government’s ambition for rural Ireland as set out in ‘Our Rural Future’. I look forward to receiving high quality proposals from communities across rural Ireland in the coming months.”