(c) www.gov.ie – 26/02/21

Funding targeted at organisations which have suffered due to Pandemic

A €10 million fund is to be established to assist community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises, which have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The funding was jointly announced today by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, and Minister of State with special responsibility for Charities and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD.

The €10m investment builds on the €45 million COVID-19 Stability Fund which, in 2020, supported over 600 organisations to continue delivering vital services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

The new funding, agreed as part of the Government’s Resilience and Recovery Plan, is targeted at organisations that have seen their trading and/or fundraising income drop significantly as a result of the Pandemic.

The funding will be administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Details of the online application process will be published shortly.

Welcoming the €10m funding, Minister Humphreys said :

“Our community and voluntary groups, as well as our charities and social enterprises, have played a crucial role during the Pandemic.

“They have continued to provide critical services to our elderly and most vulnerable citizens even at the height of Level Five restrictions.

“Many of these groups are now struggling financially due to for example a significant drop in income through fundraising.

“That’s why Government has decided to step in and provide this €10 million fund, which is on top of the €45 million provided in 2020.

“I intend to make a further announcement in the coming weeks regarding the application process, and would encourage all potentially eligible charities, social enterprises and community and voluntary organisations to fully engage with the application process when it opens.”

Minister McGrath stated :

“Without doubt, this Pandemic has shown us the real meaning of ‘community’.

“I am therefore very pleased to provide €10 million in funding through the COVID-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises.

“I know from listening to organisations on the ground the difficulties they have faced in recent months, and the impact of restrictions on their ability to generate income.

“I am committed to assisting these organisations in whatever way possible to ensure that the valuable services they provide to the most vulnerable, who have been so deeply impacted by the public health crisis, continue on into the future.”

Minister O’Brien continued :

“I am very pleased to join with Ministers Humphreys and McGrath in announcing the 2021 round of the COVID Stability Fund.

“When the scheme was initially established in 2020, it was believed that social restrictions would be with us for a short period.

“With the evolving situation, it became necessary to examine the continuing impact of public health measures on the ability of community and voluntary organisations to generate income and deliver basic services.

“I understand the difficulties charities may have in accessing other supports and I’m delighted that the fund will reopen to support potentially eligible organisations who have not been supported in other ways, who have tried to weather the storm themselves but who now need some help.

“We want to ensure vital services continue and that we in Government do our part to help the organisations to do this.

“I commend the resilience and adaptability organisations have shown in trying to make up the shortfall through online fundraising and I am always inspired by the innovation shown in a sector filled with determined change-makers and activists. I again extend my most heartfelt thanks to you all for the vital work you do.”

The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach.

In 2020, the Department of Rural and Community Development, working with colleagues in the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, provided support through the €45m COVID 19 Stability Fund for organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector, Charities and Social Enterprises.

The Fund was intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as we dealt with the sudden introduction of social restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. This Fund was in conjunction with many other Government supports. This fund provided up to €45million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) and the criteria aligned with DAF objectives to support:

1. The personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged; or

2. The educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or

3. Persons with a disability.

1,060 applications were received during the application periods. Funding of over €43m, including the additional €10M in funding announced during Budget 2021, has been approved to over 600 organisations to date and the payment processes for this funding remain ongoing.

Today’s announcement details an additional €10M allocated to the Stability Fund as part of the Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 plan announced by the Taoiseach on Tuesday 23rd February. Further details on how relevant organisations can apply for this funding will be available shortly. In preparation for the application process, intending applicants should gather relevant financial information for 2019 and 2020, details of services provided including the numbers of beneficiaries, evidence of increased service demand due to the pandemic if applicable, and details of public funding received in 2020 and applied for in 2021. Each applicant organisation will be required to hold a registered company number or registered charity number in order to be considered.

Further details of the online application process will be made available in due course.

This new funding is being provided in addition to more than €51 million in funding, announced last November, for the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2021, which allocated funding for 46 separate measures to be delivered across 10 Government Departments to benefit disadvantaged groups.