Local community groups are being encouraged to forward applications under the Clár programme to support initiatives such as meals on wheels, transport for cancer patients, improved pedestrian safety within school environs and the development or enhancement of community recreation areas.
The request for applications was announced by Minister Michael Ring and applications for 90 percent funding must be submitted to the Department of Rural Affairs by 28th August 2020.
Measures funded under the 2020 CLÁR programme
•Measure 1: Schools/community safety measures which must be submitted through, and shortlisted by, the County Council. The maximum grant funding available under this measure is €50,000.
This funds items such as pedestrian crossings and footpaths to provide safe access to schools and has been broadened to allow additional investments to adapt areas around schools and community facilities to help meet new public health requirements arising from COVID-19.
“This funding stream is very welcome because Ireland has one of the highest levels of child pedestrian deaths in western Europe with children killed or injured while walking on our roads, which is part of the reason that parents will not let children walk or cycle to school. Research in the UK has shown that for every 1mph increase in the average speed, there is a five percent increase in the number of road accidents. So, every measure that slows traffic will save lives,” Independent Deputy, Denis Naughten., remarked.
•Measure 2: Community Recreation Areas which must be submitted through, and shortlisted by, the County Council. The maximum grant funding available under this measure is €50,000.
This funding will be allocated for community recreational areas where friends and families can socialise outdoors in safe, accessible, community spaces while respecting public health guidelines. This Measure will include support for items such as picnic benches/tables, outdoor covered seating or BBQ areas, public lighting, bicycle stands, bandstand/stage areas, etc. These recreational areas will be particularly important for community social interaction in the coming months, in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
“This is a new funding programme for 2020 and will provide communities with the opportunity to better utilise the existing public spaces that have been developed in recent years. It will be important that these projects enhance community use of facilities but also be designed in a way that minimises the risk of anti-social behaviour,” Deputy Naughten commented.
•Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Supports, will be applied for directly to the Department of Rural Affairs to enhance local community initiatives. It is made up of two elements - Meals on Wheels and linked services and Mobility Care and Cancer Care Transport.
Community organisations providing meals on wheels and other community services will be supported to purchase kitchen or food delivery equipment. They can also access funds for any adaptations that may be necessary to their existing vehicles as a result of new public health guidelines. The maximum grant funding available under this measure is €20,000.
“I welcome this new funding initiative by Minister Michael Ring and it was one programme of funding that I brought directly to his attention as it is now vital to be able to support people to live in their own homes particularly now with the heightened concerns that older people have as a result of Covid-19,” Deputy Naughten explained.
The maximum grant funding available under the Mobility and Cancer Care Transport measure is up to €50,000 for the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicles, or €100,000 for a bus.
“This funding stream will support vital voluntary organisations that provide free transport for people with mobility issues and for those attending cancer treatment in our hospitals. This is a strand of funding that has been successful in the past in supporting such services.
“As someone who worked with Minister Michael Ring to have this CLÁR programme reopened in 2016 I have no doubt that many local communities will benefit from this initiative and I would actively encourage groups to contact the Council or Department where appropriate to progress their application," Deputy Naughten concluded.