Community organisations including Tidy Towns groups in Leitrim can now apply for funding to enhance their towns and villages. The funding is available for expenditure on capital and assets which can lead to improved town and village centres and also for access to various facilities and amenities around and close to towns and villages etc.
Many community groups around Leitrim strive to improve, develop, enhance, conserve and rehabilitate the public areas in their communities. This includes, vacant, derelict and declining appearance of sites and buildings, parks, riverside, lakeside and green areas and heritage or historical sites in and around the town and villages. Groups also strive to provide safe access and safety enhancements including walkways, paths, public furniture, lighting and such facilities for a range of public or community facilities which are outside or close to the towns and villages in Leitrim such as graveyards, sporting and recreational facilities, etc. These efforts can also include providing interpretation, signage, information boards, etc. to allow people in the locality and visitors to get a better understanding of their history, heritage, biodiversity, landscapes, etc.
Groups also develop sites for farmers markets, for play areas, for community events, for parking and also provide public goods such as festive lighting, Community CCTV, etc. and other such items which are generally outside the statutory remit of Local Authorities and other public bodies.
Leitrim’s Tidy towns groups are very proactive and invest a lot of time and energy in enhancing our towns and villages every year. The RSS, TUS, Jobs Initiative (JI) and CE and Gateway programmes have been assisting these and many other groups across the county for many years now and if you believe that your community is in need of such or further enhancements then you should consider applying for this funding to help support and enhance your efforts.
This call for LEADER funding has €300,000 available at up to 75% funding for eligible items and projects. (Another call will open for a similar amount of funding in 2018-2019). While this is modest sum it will certainly contribute to enhancing Leitrim’s towns and villages.
In order to apply groups should provide details of their proposal by completing and signing an Expression of Interest form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org at Leitrim Development Company before 5.00pm 13th April. More details are available at http://www.ldco.ie/town-funding.html
The following is the detail from the Local Development Strategy (LDS) as to why the LEADER will fund developments in Leitrim’s towns and Villages.
Priority 3 – Vibrant Towns & Villages as Hubs of Activity and Services
Priority 3 relates to enhancing our towns and villages to become hubs of economic and social activity and services. The aim is to improve the fabric of rural towns and villages and their hinterlands through improvements to streetscapes, creation of recreational spaces, re-generation and upgrading of heritage and other buildings. Creating vibrant towns and villages throughout the county will have wide ranging economic and social benefits for both the local communities and businesses in the area.
In order to remain attractive and vibrant the towns and villages of the county require investment in two distinct ways. The first relates to the provision of hard infrastructure, facilities, access and general enhancements to the public realm. The second is in the area of stimulating, supporting and focusing on the inherent capacity, assets and leadership within the people (community) and businesses of these towns and villages. This will include collaborative working to link the various supports and public bodies in order to focus on encouraging and retaining significant economic and social activity in these towns and villages. With significant challenges in the future, towns and villages need assistance to concentrate their efforts and to utilise their resources in innovative and creative ways so that they can develop a clear vision for the future. It is important that towns and villages focus on their unique selling points or assets in order to entice traders and visitors. This could include towns or villages promoting themselves as specialist hubs with distinct themes or appeal. This can also be used to lever in other resources and commitments and is in line with the concepts and recommendations of the CEDRA Report on Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ). Some of the pilot REDZ may also seek support from the RDP.
The funding under RDP LEADER 2014-2020 is limited but it is expected that there will be a range of projects, enhancements and development of public and community infrastructure by communities (Tidy Town groups, town business groups, community/town development associations, tourism groups, etc.). There will also be collaborative infrastructural projects with public bodies to enhance a number of towns and villages. Leitrim’s LCDC believes that it is important for the RDP to continue to support these developments, enhancements and access to community facilities to ensure that Leitrim’s towns and villages are attractive places to live, to invest in and to visit.