Local community groups are being encouraged to apply for funding under the 2020 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
A total of €15m has been allocated to this year’s scheme, which is one element of a €30 million package of integrated supports announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring.
“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme provides funding for projects which support Westmeath towns and villages to be more attractive and sustainable. This year it will specifically support projects that aid the economic and social recovery of our towns and villages in response to COVID-19.
“Town and villages in Westmeath are at the heart of our economic and social activity and will play a pivotal role once again in providing safe spaces for people to meet and do business as the current restrictions are eased in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
“A new standalone measure under this year’s scheme will provide accelerated support for Westmeath towns and villages in to adapt to public health requirements such as social distancing in the short term, and to encourage increased footfall.
“Such initiatives that could be supported in Westmeath include projects to temporarily repurpose or pedestrianise public areas to facilitate street trading, the development of an online platform to promote retailers and small scale events that attract people back into town centres safely.
“Other parts of the €30m package of supports are the CLÁR Programme and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme which will be announced later. The Department’s Rural Development Investment Programme is funded under Project Ireland 2040,” Cllr. John Dolan commented.
The Fine Gael Councillor’s words were echoed by fellow political party colleague, Longford/Westmeath Deputy, Peter Burke, who noted the significant investment towns and villages within the county received in recent times.
“The scheme is a perfect fit for Westmeath as we have a good mix of different towns and villages which due to their population, are eligible to apply. The Town and Village scheme has seen significant investment into Westmeath towns in the last three years since a standalone Ministry for Rural Affairs was set up by the Fine Gael led Government and spear headed by Minister Michael Ring. Both Moate and Ballinahown have benefitted from the funding in recent times, receiving €200,000 and €100,000 respectively,” Deputy Burke remarked.