The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, and is part of a package of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland.  The Scheme will be funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and administered by the Local Authorities.

In April 2017, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD and the Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, Michael Ring, TD, announced €20 million in funding for rural towns and villages in the Tuar Ard Arts Centre, Moate, Co. Westmeath.

Pat Spillane, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister of State Michael Ring T.D.

Up to 300 towns and villages will benefit from funding under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which will be made available through Local Authorities over the next 15 months to support rural regeneration. The scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000. Applications from towns can range from €20,000 to a maximum of €100,000. Two categories of Town/Villages are eligible for support under the scheme:

  • Category 1:  Towns/villages with a population of less than 5,000 people.
  • Category 2:  Towns with a population of 5,000-10,000 people.

At least of 60% of the funding available will be awarded to Category 1 towns and villages. Successful proposals will demonstrate close collaboration between communities and business interests in the design and delivery of proposed projects and must have the support of the Local Authority.

Selection of projects will be by means of a competitive process, initially at Local Authority level, with the final project selection being made by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The final project selection will be made in July by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Successful projects will be expected to commence immediately and can run up to mid-2018.

Sustainable impacts

Projects which have clear positive economic impacts on the town/village or which stimulate economic activity between a town/village and its neighbouring townlands will be particularly welcome, as will projects which demonstrate leveraging of, or linkages with, other schemes operated by Government Departments or agencies (e.g. in the areas of heritage, arts, culture, tourism, tidy towns, recreational facilities, re-use of vacant premises, vacant sites, energy efficiency schemes, etc.).

Grant levels

Up to 80% of the total cost of a project under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme will be provided for any individual project. The minimum grant which is available is €20,000 and the maximum is €100,000. A higher maximum of €200,000 will be considered for a limited number of projects where a strong case can be made demonstrating exceptionally strong economic benefit to a town and/or its outlying areas.

Local Authorities may seek further optional funding of up to €20,000 in total for art works to enhance public spaces, as part of one or more project proposals submitted in respect of their area. It will be a matter for each Local Authority to commission and choose the works to be funded, ideally with an emphasis on participation by local artists.

See here for further information on how to apply.

Residential occupancy scheme

Minister Humphreys will separately launch a pilot initiative under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in the second half of 2017 to encourage residential occupancy in rural towns and villages.