Community Enhancement Programme  

The Department of Rural and Community Development carried out a review into the Communities Facilities Scheme and the RAPID programme and the Community Enhancement Programme is as a result of that review.

The Department decided to carry out this review to determine if improvements should be made prior to a new launch in 2018 and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the schemes.

The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) replaces and builds on the Communities Facilities Scheme and the RAPID programme.

The report on the review is available here.The CEP is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and will provide €4.5 million of grant funding in 2018 towards enhancing the facilities available to communities.

Combining the schemes will make for a more flexible, streamlined and targeted approach to providing funding to those communities most in need.

RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) Programme 

This has now been merged with Communities Facilities Scheme to form the Community Enhancement Programme.   

The RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) Programme, a Government initiative, which targeted 51 of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. The Programme aimed to ensure that priority attention was given to the 51 designated areas by focusing available resources. 

Communities Facilities Scheme

This has now been merged with RAPID to form the Community Enhancement Programme. 

The Communities Facilities Scheme targeted disadvantaged urban and rural areas, but not exclusively so.  It funded capital projects or elements of projects seeking to enhance communities, address disadvantage and improve social cohesion at a local level. Projects of a capital nature, for voluntary groups, were funded such as office equipment, project resources, research facilities, energy efficiency equipment, etc.


LEADER is a European Community Initiative for assisting rural communities in improving the quality of life and economic prosperity in their local area.  It is a community-led approach to local development funded through Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020 (the Programme). It is funded under Priority 6 of the Programme, which promotes social inclusion, poverty reduction and the economic development of rural areas.  The decisions are made by local people about their own areas based on the premise that they are the ones who know best what their local area needs and what projects will best fill that need. The aim of the Leader approach is to increase the capacity of local rural community and business networks to build knowledge and skills, innovate and co-operate in order to tackle local development objectives.

LEADER supports locally identified initiatives (at local or sub-regional level) that seek to address locally identified needs and challenges. It is delivered by a network of Local Action Groups (or LAGs), which have selected to implement Local Development Strategies (LDSs or Strategies) for their respective sub-regional areas.

Each LAG has been allocated a rural development budget to enable them to pursue the strategic objective set out in the Local Rural Development Strategy they compiled for the area they represent.

The Public Participation Network (PPN)

Section 46 of the Local Government Reform Act 2014 inserted a new section 127 into the 2001 Local Government Act which enabled local authorities to take all appropriate steps to consult with and promote effective participation of local communities in local government. One of the principal implementing provisions was the adoption by each local authority of a framework for public participation in local government, which aimed to set out the mechanisms by which citizens and communities are encouraged and supported to participate in the decision-making processes of local authorities.

A Public Participation Network (PPN) has been developed in each local authority area to enable the public to take an active formal role in relevant policy making and oversight committees of the Local Authority.

The aim of the structures and processes is to facilitate and enable the public and the organisations to articulate a diverse range of views and interests within the local government system.  The PPN facilitates input by the public into local government through a structure that ensures public participation and representation on decision-making committees and bodies within local government.

All individuals may access local government through the existing arrangements in regard to their issues. For the purpose of this structured public participation within local government, individuals may join an existing group or organisation or they can establish an interest group or organisation and register it with the PPN.

Details of Public Participation Network Websites can be accessed at

 Scheme to Support National Organisations

The Department has lead responsibility for developing the relationship with the State and community and voluntary sector and for setting the policy framework.

The Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector (SSNO) is a key element of the State’s support for the role of the sector in contributing to the development of strong and vibrant civil society and in improving outcomes for those most disadvantaged.

This scheme provides multi-annual funding towards core costs of national organisations in the sector, with a focus on organisations that provide supports to those who are disadvantaged.

Scheme to Support National Organisations (2016-2019)

Seniors Alert Scheme 

The objective of the Seniors Alert Scheme is to encourage community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable older persons, of limited means, to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.

Funding is available under the scheme towards the purchase of equipment, eg. personal alarm and pendant, by a registered organisation. Funding is made available by this Department.

Funding is being made available through community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations registered with Pobal under the Seniors Alert Scheme.

Community and voluntary groups are now required to register with Pobal under the Scheme.

Organisations can register and find more information on Pobal’s website (link is external).  Alternatively you can email Pobal at or contact them by telephone  at +353 (0)1 511 7222.