Department of Rural and Community Development
Community Enhancement Programme:
2020 fund for Community Centres and Community Buildings
Please read the following guidelines carefully before completing the application form.
The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) provides capital funding to community groups across Ireland to enhance facilities in disadvantaged areas. The CEP is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development (the Department) and administered by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in each Local Authority area.
The Department launched the 2020 CEP on 22 June of this year, with funding of €2m.
- New €5m fund under the CEP
Separate to the €2m programme launched in June, the Department is now launching a new €5m fund, under the CEP, which will provide capital grants towards the maintenance, improvement and upkeep of community centres and community buildings. Similar expenditure on other community facilities will also be allowed.
This funding is available under the Government’s July stimulus package, and is targeted at measures that stimulate local economies, while enhancing facilities in disadvantaged areas.
Consistent with previous iterations of the CEP, the Department provides funding to each Local Authority (LA) area and the LCDCs then administer this funding locally to ensure funding is targeted appropriately towards addressing disadvantage in the areas that need it most.
It is important to note that other agencies and departments also invest in disadvantaged areas. The CEP will operate in a complementary manner to add value to other front-line schemes and programmes being operated in communities.
The Department has recommended that LCDCs ring-fence some funding to provide small capital grants of €1,000 or less. This is aimed at assisting small grassroots community projects to get off the ground. Ring-fencing funding at this level will allow a greater number of groups with limited resources to receive some funding. The programme can also fund or partially fund larger scale capital projects to address disadvantage.
Applications should be made online to Fingal LCDC by 4pm on Friday September 25, 2020.
The deadline for drawing down of funds is December 31, 2020.
2. Who is eligible to apply?
Any not-for-profit community or voluntary group can apply.
Commercial organisations and individuals are not eligible for funding.
3. What projects are eligible for funding?
3a. What projects are eligible for funding?
The funding covers capital projects only. In cases where both current and capital works are carried out together, only the capital element can be funded through this Programme.
Funding could fill in gaps in Local Authority funding and make particular projects viable or improve them. Funding could be applied to speed up and improve projects already identified i.e. those in planning stage or ready to implement.
The following provides a non-exhaustive list of capital projects that could receive funding under the programme:
- Development/renovation of community centres
- Once off maintenance of premises. This does not include regular routine maintenance
- Community amenities
- Development of youth clubs or facilities
- Development of sports/recreation facilities
- Improvements to town parks and common areas and spaces
- CCTV equipment
- Public realm improvements
- Development of play/recreation spaces
- Energy efficiency type projects
- Purchase of equipment
- Adaptations or equipment needed as a result of COVID-19
This funding is targeted at measures that stimulate local economies, while enhancing community facilities for individuals and communities that are impacted by disadvantage as identified in the Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP).
3b. What is not eligible for funding?
The following expenditure is not eligible for funding:
- Any project not in keeping with the ethos of the Programme
- Any day-to-day expenses (i.e. current or operating costs)
- Employment costs
- Legal fees
- Project management fees
- Purchase of lands or buildings
- Feasibility studies
- Private or commercial operations
4. Requirements of the Programme
The following conditions apply to all projects. Depending on the nature of your project (and the group applying), there may be further requirements that must be met. The LCDC/LA will discuss this with you, if your application is successful.
The applicant group/organisation does not have to be registered for tax purposes.
Any applicant group/organisation that is registered for tax purposes must be tax compliant. In line with revised tax clearance procedures, which came into effect in January 2016, the Tax Clearance Access Number and Tax Reference number must be submitted for verification purposes.
Statutory Consents - Applicants must ensure that all necessary statutory permissions or consents are in place before any works commence. This includes, but is not confined to, planning permission.
Insurance - Written evidence of a valid insurance policy may be requested by the LCDC, where relevant, during the applications review process.
Acknowledgment of funding - Due to the value of some of these grants, it would not be cost-effective to require signage acknowledging the Department, Local Authority or LCDC funding contribution. Other suitable acknowledgements will suffice e.g. on a group/organisation’s website or social media platforms. Where signage is developed it should acknowledge the contribution of the Department.
Match-funding - this is not a requirement under this programme.
5. Selection Criteria
Applications will be evaluated by the LCDC to ensure eligibility and that they are targeted at addressing disadvantage as identified in its LECP. Projects must be in keeping with the ethos of the programme, which is to provide funding to communities across Ireland to enhance facilities in disadvantaged areas.
Projects may also be judged having regard to how they:
increase participant or visitor or audience numbers, and improve and extend access to facilities within the catchment area;
invest to increase or extend the use of the facility, for example, to voluntary and community groups;
reduce the annual running cost of a facility;
have a positive impact on the environment, for example, a reduction in energy consumption;
demonstrate collaboration with the local authority or other relevant bodies in the catchment area;
support the creation of a sense of place within the community including through the enhancement of the built environment or public realm;
address health and safety issues; and/or,
invest in technology which will be accessed by individuals and communities that are impacted by disadvantage.
Projects should also be judged having regard to how the grant will stimulate the local economy.
Projects may also be judged having regard to additional criteria deemed appropriate by the LCDC which demonstrate the added value of the project or element of a project in suitably addressing the programme's aims in each Local Authority administrative area.
6. Corporate Governance
Grantees will be required to comply with the highest standard of transparency and accountability as documented in Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular 13/2014 - Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds http://circulars.gov.ie/pdf/circular/per/2014/13.pdf
The overall principle is that there should be transparency and accountability in the management of public funds, in line with economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The circular outlines, for example, that grant recipients should not dispose of publically funded assets without prior approval.
6b. The Code of Governance for Community and Voluntary organisations
The Department is encouraging funded bodies to adopt the Governance Code, a Code of Practice for Good Governance of Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations, which will assist in achieving excellence in all areas of your work. The Governance Code asks organisations to agree to operate to key principles in order to run their organisation more effectively in areas such as leadership, transparency and accountability and behaving with integrity. Further information on the Code is available at www.governancecode.ie
7. Approval Procedures
All applications for funding under this programme received by each LCDC will be reviewed and assessed to ensure consistency with the relevant Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP).
In deciding the final allocations of funding to projects, the LCDC may take account of a number of factors including geographical balance and the desirability to fund a variety of different projects and the relative disadvantage of the area where the facility is located (or will serve).
Following the decision each approved project, subject to the completion of legal formalities and other requirements, will receive an offer in principle of grant-aid. This will be subject to compliance with the relevant conditions and subject to the satisfactory acceptance by the applicant of that offer.
The right is reserved to reassign the funds offered to another approved project if all requirements are not met within a reasonable period.
The Department and/or the Local Authority reserve the right to carry out an audit of expenditure or conduct inspections from time to time.
Requests for assistance usually exceed the funds available and it is important therefore that the process of evaluation is rigorous. The purpose of this process is to ensure that the best projects, taking all factors into account, emerge and receive support. It is Departmental policy to ensure that every application is treated fairly and impartially.
Offers of funding may be for a lesser amount than that sought by the applicant. Applicants should be aware that the Programme may be oversubscribed. Therefore, in such circumstances, all applications fulfilling the conditions may not be successful or may be for a lesser amount.
The LCDC in evaluating proposals received may seek advice and consult with other agencies, and may disclose information on projects under consideration to those experts and agencies.
The information provided in this document is intended to give applicants an understanding of the process by which applications for funding are assessed and approved and does not purport to be a legal interpretation.
Freedom of Information Act 2014
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, details contained in applications and supporting documents may, on request, be released to third parties. If there is information contained in your application which is sensitive or confidential in nature, please identify it and provide an explanation as to why it should not be disclosed. If a request to release sensitive information under the legislation is received, you will be consulted before a decision is made whether or not to release the information. However, in the absence of the identification of particular information as sensitive, it could be disclosed without any consultation with you.
The Department, Local Authority or LCDC may carry out unannounced site visits to verify compliance with the Programme’s terms and conditions.
Further information may be requested
The LCDC reserves the right to request further information from you in order to assess your application if so required.
Usage of information
The information provided on the form will be utilised for the purposes of evaluating and administering the grant process, and to facilities audits and any site visits. When evaluating the applications received the LCDC may seek advice and consult with other agencies, and may disclose information on projects under consideration to those experts and agencies.
Under the programme it is intended that 30% of the funding that is allocated to each Local Authority area will be ring-fenced for grants of €1,000 or less.
Applicant groups shall self-certify that they do not have the funding to undertake the work, without the grant aid, or alternatively that with the grant they will now undertake a larger project which they otherwise would not be able to afford.
If the funding application is for one element of a project, applicants will be required to provide documentary evidence of the availability of the balance of funding for that particular element of that project.
There is no limit on the number of applications for different projects from any organisation. However, applicants should be aware that an equity/fairness approach will be taken by the LCDC to ensure an even distribution of funding.
The Programme is 100% exchequer funded. Applicants are free to leverage other funding/match funding for projects (e.g. with LEADER, Tidy Towns, Town and Village Enhancement funding, etc.) although that is not a requirement of this new programme.
It is the responsibility of the administrators of/body responsible for any other funding scheme or programme to ensure that using this Programme to co-fund a project does not contradict the rules of that other scheme/programme.
VAT will only be paid where it is included in the application amount. No further requests for VAT payments or repayments will be accepted.
9. How to Apply
The application form is detailed and is designed to ensure that it has the necessary information to evaluate each proposal accurately and fairly. Please ensure that you complete the application form in full and that any documentation in support of your application is submitted with your application.
Only projects that meet the criteria outlined above will be considered eligible.
Categories of Grants
- Up to €1,000 (one quotation required)
- From €1,000 to €2,500 (one quotation required)
- From €2,500 to €10,000 (three quotations required)
PLEASE NOTE THAT INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS OR LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
Submission of false or misleading information at any stage is treated very seriously. Any organisation that does not comply with the terms and conditions of the Programme may be subject to inspection, have their grant withdrawn, be required to repay all or part of a grant and/or be barred from making applications for a period of time. All serious breaches of the terms and conditions of the Programme will be notified to An Garda Síochána.
Applications should be completed online.