Community Development

Séan Nós na nÓg

Údarás na Gaeltachta’s community development strategy aims to empower Gaeltacht communities to optimise and develop their local resources.

An tÚdarás recognises that economic development, cultural conservation, language enhancement and job-creation are intertwined and central to sustainable development of Gaeltacht communities.

An tÚdarás offers a range of schemes and initiatives to support Gaeltacht communities to play active role in the economic, social and cultural development of their communities.

The organisation provides substantial funding and support services to over 30 community cooperatives and community development companies throughout the Gaeltacht which assists them in becoming strong and proactive resources local development groups.

An tÚdarás administers a number of social employment schemes, provides funding to support pre-school groups, youth clubs, arts and culture initiatives and language services centres. It works with the local community structures, through the various social employment schemes, to enhance the social infrastructure of the Gaeltacht and ensure the provision of services for the elderly.

Community Development Organisations

Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne

Community structures operate as local development vehicles in many Gaeltacht areas. They provide a range of important local services, they co-ordinate or facilitate community development activities and projects and they provide advisory services to the voluntary sector in their operational areas. Community structures initiate and direct community projects and schemes throughout the Gaeltacht. To view a list of Community Development organisations located in the Gaeltacht click here or see the map below.

An tÚdarás provides substantial funding and support services to community development organisations. Support schemes are available to enable them to progress or implement their development projects.

Administration Grant

This grant is paid towards the administration costs of the community structures every quarter. Community structures with less intensive programmes are awarded smaller grants. Application for the Administration Grant must be submitted annually. Application for Payment of Grant must be submitted on a quarterly basis.

Community Enterprise Scheme

The Community Enterprise Scheme aims to encourage committees and community organisations in the Gaeltacht to establish community enterprises.

The scheme is available to Gaeltacht committees and community development organisations registered with Údarás na Gaeltachta and operating on a democratic basis. The organisations must be representative of the local communities which they serve and must be operating in accordance with work programmes agreed with Údarás na Gaeltachta Regional Offices.

Information note on the Scheme

Aim of Scheme

The aim of the scheme is to assist committees or community development organisations in the Gaeltacht to undertake community enterprises.

The scheme will be accessible to Gaeltacht committees and community development organisations registered with Údarás na Gaeltachta and operating on a democratic basis.  The organisations must be representative of the local communities which they serve and must be operating in accordance with work programmes agreed with Údarás na Gaeltachta Regional Offices.

Amount and Rate of Grant

Under this scheme a maximum grant amount of up to €5,000 will be approved at a rate of 75% (whichever is lesser) of the qualifying expenditure.

Qualifying Criteria

Applications relating to community enterprises in the following areas will be accepted:

Development of the Committees Planning and Management Skills

  • Assist community development organisations to develop their planning and management ability.
  • Assist community development organisations in the preparation of their development plans.
  • Assist management committees develop their skills which would aid in the preparation and implementation of the committees work programmes.
  • Assist community development organisations to identify new development opportunities through visiting other organisations or areas closely linked with community enterprise development.

Development of Local Facilities and Services

  • Assist with preliminary planning in relation to the development of new community facilities which are in line with identified demand and local needs, for example, consultancy or planning fees
  • Assist with the development of local services beneficial to identified target groups, for example, the youth and the elderly.
  • Assist with the development of cultural tourism in the Gaeltacht, for example, the development of local walks, bilingual marketing material and necessary skills.
  • Improve local facilities and services which are necessary and are not being provided by the private or public sector.
  • Assist community development organisations with capital costs associated with the provision of necessary equipment providing that it relates to the development or administration of the project.

Development of the Irish language as a community language

  • Assist with organising cultural or social Irish language events featuring the Irish language which are in line with local plans.

(Note: Funding for festivals will not be available under this scheme.)

  • Assist various local initiatives which will help the preservation and development of Irish as a community language in the committees’ operational area.

Conditions of Application

The following conditions must be fulfilled prior to the acceptance of applications:

  1. Completed Application Form.
  2. Provide written estimates of costs.
  3. Provide a copy of the organisation’s Constitution/Memoranda and Articles of Association.
  4. Assistance will not be available under this scheme for an enterprise in receipt of state funding under another grant scheme.
  5. Grants will not be paid in respect of expenditure incurred by the organisation prior to receipt of Údarás approval.
  6. In the event of the committee’s voluntary time being applied as joint funding, a rate of €10 per hour up to 10% of the total cost will be accepted.
  7. Grant payments will not be made until:

(a) confirmation has been provided to the satisfaction of the relevant Regional Manager that the project, as agreed, has been implemented;

(b) proof has been provided that expenditure, as authorised, has taken place, for example, copy of bank statement confirming payment of invoice;

(c) proof has been provided confirming that the organisations tax affairs are in order or a Tax Clearance Certificate in the event that the organisation has received accumulated grants in excess of €10,000 in the current year.

Social Employment Schemes

Road works

Údarás na Gaeltachta acts as an agent for the Department of Social Protection in administering community employment schemes in the Gaeltacht. An tÚdarás administers the payments, provides an advisory and management service to the applicants/voluntary groups and assists in facilitating the preparation of the required work plans.

These employment schemes have a large part to play in the development and improvement of community facilities, sporting facilities, landscaping and in the conservation of heritage sites.

  • They provide work experience to unemployed people
  • They provide training for participants
  • They provide many necessary basic services in the community as well as upgrading and maintaining sporting and leisure facilities.

There is a limit to the number of participants who may be employed at any one time.

Community Employment Scheme

Projects that respond to an identified community need and provide development for participants are eligible; for example, projects involving heritage, arts, culture, tourism, sport, and the environment.

Projects should have the agreement of the relevant trade unions and must not displace or replace existing jobs. The project must offer valuable work opportunities for participants.

The sponsor is provided with resources to employ unemployed people as participants. Normally, participants are employed for one year, for an average of 39 hours per fortnight. The eligibility criteria allow you to recruit participants provided they are more than one year unemployed. Through their period spent at work in a project, they improve their chances of being integrated into subsequent employment elsewhere in the local economy.

Údarás na Gaeltachta will pay a wages grant for all approved participants for the full period of employment. A contribution towards full-time supervision and material costs will be made. Grants towards Participant Development will be provided. Support is also being phased for Sponsor groups for development and training in the skills required for managing the project and its resources.

An application form may be downloaded here.

Rural Social Scheme (RSS)

The RSS aims to:

  • Provide income support for farmers and fishermen who are currently in receipt of social welfare payments
  • Provide services which will benefit the rural community.

The RSS allows low-income farmers and fishermen who are unable to make a living from fishing or farming to earn a supplementary income.

An applicant must be in receipt of Farm Assist or must have a herd or flock number and also be in receipt of one of the following: Unemployment Assistance /Unemployment Benefit (if previously on a Community Employment Scheme) /Disablity Allowance, to take part in this scheme.

All the work undertaken during the RSS will be beneficial to the local community. The types of projects carried out under the RSS are likely to include:

  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of the elderly, community care for both pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work – maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Any other appropriate community project identified during the course of the Scheme.

Participants will experience opportunities to improve existing, or develop new skills, and perform valuable work in the community.

An application form may be downloaded here.

TÚS – Community Workplacement Initiative

Aims of Tús

The aims of TÚS are to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed and to provide certain services of benefit to communities.

While responsibility for the operation of TÚS rests with the Department of Social Protection, it is being managed at a local level in the Gaeltacht, on the Department’s behalf, by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Community & Voluntary Organisations will be able to develop and deliver services locally and benefit from the skills and experience the unemployed person can bring.

Who can participate on TÚS?

Participants will, in the first instance, be identified by the Department of Social Protection by applying the following conditions:

  • A person must be unemployed and in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment for at least 12 months, and in receipt of a jobseekers payment from the Department of Social Protection for at least 12 months, and
  • Currently be in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and
  • Be fully unemployed.

The Department’s local offices will contact people who satisfy the criteria. However, not everyone who meets the criteria will be contacted, as limited places will be available locally. When those identified agree to participate, they will be referred to Údarás na Gaeltachta for interview and consideration for placement.

Údarás na Gaeltachta will maintain a panel from which persons will be recruited. As placement opportunities arise, those on the panel will be matched with the work and recruited.

Prior to being offered a placement, it will be necessary to ensure that a person’s general suitability for the work involved and their experience of similar work, is established. This will be done by Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Community & Voluntary Organisation.

What type of work will be undertaken

All of the work undertaken while participating on TÚS will be beneficial to the local community and the types of projects carried out are likely to include:

  • Energy conservation work in homes and community buildings;
  • Social care of all age groups and persons with a disability or limited mobility;
  • Caretaking, securing, supervising of community buildings and spaces;
  • Renovation of community and sporting facilities, including the regeneration and enhancement of community, recreation and sporting spaces;
  • Work in support of the promotion of the Irish language, other cultural and heritage activities;
  • Community administration, research and community event mangement;
  • Coaching for sporting activities (where operated by designated sporting organisations);
  • Repair of equipment for developing world – farm tools, bicycles, computers, sewing machines, health equipment.

Further information available at www.welfare.ie

Job Initiative Programme

The Job Initiative is a programme providing full-time employment for people who are 35 years of age or over, unemployed for 5 years or more, and in receipt of social welfare payments over that period.

Following changes introduced to the Job Initiative scheme by the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment in late 2004, there is currently no recruitment onto the scheme while existing participants will have their contracts renewed.

The main purpose of the programme is to assist long-term unemployed people to prepare for work opportunities.

Application Forms