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Cycle cafés, outdoor cinemas and street canopies part of €2.8m funds for 106 towns and villages

Minister Heather Humphreys said that the aim was to “increase footfall in rural towns and villages” during the pandemic.

A canopy set up outside a food shop in Powys, Wales, to cater for queueing customers during the pandemic.
A canopy set up outside a food shop in Powys, Wales, to cater for queueing customers during the pandemic.
Image: Shutterstock/Wozzie

THE MINISTER FOR Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has  announced the details of the first €2.8 million in funding approvals from her Department to help rural towns and villages to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding will benefit 106 towns and villages throughout every county in Ireland.

This first tranche of funding announced today under the enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme recognises the need to support rural businesses and communities to rebuild in response to Covid-19.

The funding will include:

  • Widening walkways and footpaths to provide seating for shoppers
  • Providing sheltered areas outside local amenities
  • Enhancements to community centres to allow for remote working
  • Adapting community spaces, playgrounds and other outdoor areas for social distancing
  • Supporting the establishment of ‘cycle cafés’.

Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said: “It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of Covid-19.”

This funding will benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely.

I have increased the funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme as part of the €17 million rural package that my Department secured under the July Jobs Stimulus. This means that even more towns and villages will benefit from supports.”

Examples of projects being supported in today’s announcement include:

  • Macroom, Co Cork. Revamp of town centre to include painting, cleaning, installation of street canopies, street furniture and adaption of streets to allow businesses introduce outdoor seating.
  • Kildare Town, Co Kildare. Removal of existing car-parking spaces in the Market Square to facilitate social distancing, recreational use by the community, and outdoor eating and queuing for patrons of businesses on the square.
  • Carlingford, Co Louth. Provision of café-style outdoor furniture, seating, parasols and traffic segregation in key areas of the town, and an activation plan for the town in order to increase footfall.
  • Kinlough, Co Leitrim. Equipment for the setup of a Business/Digital Hub in Kinlough Community Centre in order to facilitate remote working and meetings/training/conferences etc.
  • Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary. Enhancements to Community Centre to allow for remote working, an indoor farmers market and outdoor covered meeting area.
  • Monaghan Town, Co Monaghan. Large screen for outdoor town centre events, pop-up canopies, seating (mobile), green space set up at Courthouse Square and Town centre marketing promotion activity.
  • Castlerea, Co Roscommon. Purchase of outdoor seating, generator and outdoor cinema screen for outdoor events.

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The July stimulus also includes €5 million in funding for upgrading and improving community centres, community facilities and community buildings, as well as an extra €2 million to support the islands.

Full details of the 106 projects supported under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme measure are available on the Gov.ie website here.

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