The Minister of State at Department of Social Protection with Special Responsibility for Activation, Kevin Humphreys TD, today, announced that contracts worth over €3.2 million per year to support the operation of community centres and facilities have been offered to 91 not-for-profit companies nationally.

The contracts will enable the provision of a broad range of services to improve the well-being of children, older people and families in disadvantaged areas or where essential services are lacking.  The contracts represent the renewal of 91 existing contracts, for periods of up to three years, from January 2016.

Announcing the award of contracts, the Minister Humphreys said: “Nationally, we have an extensive infrastructure of community centres and facilities.  These have been built with significant financial contributions from their communities, local authorities and State supports over the years.

“In the week of the National Ploughing Championships, it should be noted that these contracts support community services across rural Ireland and play a critical role in fostering social enterprise countrywide.”

The Community Services Programme, together with other programmes delivered by the Department of Social Protection, has played a strategic role in ensuring that these community owned facilities have the staffing resources to operate and deliver quality services.  This year, the Department and Pobal examined 91 proposals for renewal of funding for the period 2016 to 2018. The community centres and services they provide derive from locally identified needs and are delivered under local ownership and voluntary endeavour.

Minister Humphreys added: “The contracts I am announcing today will directly support 170 full-time positions over the coming years.  Indirectly, over 50 more people will be provided with full-time employment from resources generated from the services delivered.

“These companies will work with the Department in providing some 200 opportunities for jobseekers under other programmes.  Through the delivery of quality services to our communities, rural and urban, across the country, these contracts ensure community assets are fully utilised to the benefit of all, but in particular those most in need of support.

“I have personally seen the countless benefits that these contracts provide to people across Ireland. Supporting communities is central to my work as a Minister and I am delighted that so many local groups will continue to prosper from these contracts.”

The Community Services Programme supports the provision of employment opportunities for people from disadvantaged groups by working with community organisations that operate on a community business or social enterprise basis.  Employment is targeted at people with disabilities, long-term unemployed people, travellers, lone parents and rehabilitated drug users.  The programme directly supports approximately 2,700 people in employment and a further 500 employees indirectly.

 

ENDS

 

Note for Editors

For more information on the Community Services Programme, and to see a full list of grantees, visit http://www.welfare.ie/en/pressoffice/Pages/pr240915.aspx