Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD was in Waterford as she announced another tranche of funding from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) for Waterford.
The town of Cappoquin was one of the main beneficiaries of the funding with the collaboration involving Waterford City and County Council, Waterford Leader Partnership, Cappoquin Community Development Company, Cappoquin Regeneration Company and Tomar Trust being the beneficiary of over €5 million in funding. The focus of attention are the regeneration efforts in Cappoquin town centre.
Waterford City and County Council has already received Category 2 RRDF funding for Cappoquin in the amount of €1.2 million, which was used in acquiring properties, to undertake design work and to advance projects through Part 8 planning processes. The emphasis of this further funding of over €5 million sees several currently vacant or derelict town centre properties converted or refurbished to new residential or commercial uses. It also supports the significant upgrading of the town’s public realm.
Accompanying the Minister on her visits, Richie Walsh, Head of Rural Development with Waterford City and County Council responded to the funding announcement by saying that the Council was delighted that its funding application had been successful, saying, “other than the improvements which will flow directly from the funding, it is envisaged that the state investment will also act as a catalyst to further private investment and to a new understanding of how town centres in rural areas can provide a great quality of life for the people who choose to live, work, and socialise there. We look forward to working with the community in Cappoquin to ensure that the town gains best value from this investment.”
The visit also builds on the success of the ‘Connected Hubs’ project as announced by the Minister in 2021, which saw 5 hubs across Waterford enhance and add capacity to their remote and co-working infrastructure.
In a busy itinerary, Minister Humphreys cut the ceremonial ribbon at several Enterprise Hubs, showcasing first-hand the extremely important ongoing investment for rural businesses in Waterford where remote working is fast becoming an attractive alternative for many.
Beginning her whistlestop journey through the Déise, the Minister officially opened the Tallow Enterprise Hub and the broader BVEDZ initiative was also declared open for business.
Community enterprise interests in Cappoquin, Tallow, Lismore, and Villierstown came together to form the Blackwater Valley Economic Development Zone (BVEDZ) team – a collaboration involving Waterford Leader Partnership, Tomar Trust, Waterford City & County Council and the four participant communities. Premises in each of the four participating areas, some of which were previously derelict or unoccupied, have now been developed as Enterprise Hubs and were officially opened for business by Minister Humphreys.
Speaking at Dungarvan Enterprise Centre at the launch of the “Dungarvan 2040” programme, Town Manager and Director of Services at Waterford City & County Council, Kieran Kehoe said, “these facilities are a key component of the “Dungarvan 2040” development strategy which we are publishing today. Buildings such as this will provide affordable office space with access to high-speed broadband, reception, and meeting services. Today’s launch fully accords with the Department of Rural & Community Development’s ‘Town Centre First’ and ‘Our Rural Future’ strategy documents.”
Dungarvan 2040 is a concerted and collaborative approach by government agencies, community groups, stakeholders, the local business community and the local authority to deliver a progressive and cohesive approach to Dungarvan’s social and economic development. Funded under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme it will act as the strategic basis for identifying and prioritising projects for delivery over the next 20 years.
The Dungarvan Enterprise Hub also received funding under the “Connected Hubs” programme and is a central component of the Dungarvan Digital Transformation Hub (DDTH) initiative.
The final component of her itinerary was to visit Clonea Power to officially open the new Community Hub, so aptly now named “Scéal Nua”. The old Clonea Power National School has been lovingly restored by the local community and is now an excellent model of what can be done when a motivated and forward-looking community group becomes involved in the development of community assets and services.
Source: Waterford City & County Council