Monday 20 May 2024
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IRD Duhallow opens calls for Expressions of Interest for Leader Funding in North Cork

IRD Duhallow opens calls for Expressions of Interest for Leader Funding in North Cork
IRD will host a workshop for all communities and individuals who are interested in applying for all types of LEADER funding on Monday 16th of January at 7.30pm in the James O’ Keeffe Institute, Newmarket where IRD staff will be available to assist and guide you through the EOI process. Also, please free to call one of IRD Development Officers on 029 60633 with any queries.
IRD Duhallow, who is one of three implementing partners for Leader North Cork has opened its Expressions of Interest (EOI) call for Leader Funding under the sub themes of Enterprise, Rural Towns and Broadband.
With a closing date of 28th February 2017 for EOI’s to be received, these specific sub themes are time bound, in that all EOI applications under the sub themes of Enterprise, Rural Towns and Broadband must be received during this period.
More detailed information on what type of project might be eligible under these sub themes are as follows:
Enterprise Development: Budget – € 171,849.00
LEADER can support micro, small and medium enterprises as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC[1].
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have primary responsibility for micro-enterprise in Ireland. LEADER must complement rather than compete with LEO activity; effective systems of collaboration and consultation are required to ensure a co-ordinated and effective allocation of resources.
The respective areas of LEO and LEADER enterprise activity are outlined in the protocol between the Department and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. This protocol applies nationally, but allows sufficient flexibility at a local level to facilitate project referral from LEOs to LAGs as appropriate.
The CEDRA Report (2014) identifies areas that might benefit most from LEADER support –
  • Artisan and other food businesses;
  • Renewable Energy;
  • Marine diversification (to complement support provided by Fisheries LAGs funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund);
  • Social Enterprises; and
  • Creative Industries[2].
Supported actions might include investment support or sector-specific training programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, social enterprises, start-ups and established SMEs. In the context of Priority 6, developing inclusive models of business support will be key to realising the potential of groups who are underrepresented in enterprise, e.g. women, young people and people with disabilities.
Rural Towns; Budget – €114,567.00
This sub-theme supports the regeneration of rural towns. It seeks to promote them as attractive places to visit, live and do business in. LEADER is particularly suited to revitalising rural towns through co-ordination of integrated approaches that build on the economic strengths and infrastructure of the area whilst addressing the key challenges for business, community and recreation.
Actions to support the regeneration of rural towns might include town renewal schemes that renovate derelict buildings with incentives to attract business to vacant properties. The building or refurbishment of community buildings also provides a multifunctional infrastructure for social, cultural and sporting activities and training for the local community. Developing and promoting unique social events and activities can provide an important stimulus to rural towns. LEADER projects in this area should complement and add value to other national supports for rural towns.
Actions should be sustainable, and consider and incorporate all the needs of the area, i.e. standalone projects that deliver on one objective and do not seek to address multiple objectives should be avoided. Works that normally comes within the remit of Local Authorities, such as large infrastructure projects, are not eligible for LEADER funding.
Broadband; Budget – €57,283.00
Increased access to reliable and high-speed broadband is vital for the economic and social development of rural areas and communities. High-quality broadband enables businesses to set-up or continue to be based in rural areas, by overcoming barriers relating to access to markets and services. There is also a potential to create additional employment as access to broadband can support businesses to grow[3].
This sub-theme supports local actions that complement national initiatives aimed at developing a comprehensive rural broadband infrastructure. Actions might include basic ICT training to priority groups, for example, to enable older people and young people to stay connected. Other actions may focus on skills development for installing broadband, feasibility studies in relation to community broadband and funding for small scale equipment, such as boosters, to allow local businesses access broadband.
This sub-theme is not intended to cover broadband infrastructure, as this is covered under the National Broadband Plan. Where the item proposed for funding is considered to relate to infrastructure, or broadband equipment worth in excess of €10,000, the LAG must get confirmation from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) that the project to be funded will not be funded under the National Broadband Plan over the five-year period following the expected completion date of the project.
All other sub themes for Leader funding under the implementing partner of IRD Duhallow in North Cork are open and an EOI for any proposed project can be submitted at any time. These sub themes are as follows:
  • Rural Tourism
  • Social Inclusion
  • Basic Services Targeted at Hard to Reach Communities
  • Rural Youth
  • Rural Environment
  • Protection and Sustainable use of Water Resources
  • Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity
  • Development of Renewable Energy
More detailed information on what type of project might be eligible under these sub themes are as follows:
Rural Tourism
Rural tourism provides a stimulus for enterprise and job creation. Tourism tends to exploit particular assets that are generally place-specific, for example, landscape and history. Accordingly, it offers significant potential, even in peripheral areas. Interventions under this sub-theme should focus on actions that have the potential to make the area more attractive for local, national and foreign visitors.
Examples of actions that may be supported include –
  • feasibility studies to explore the tourism potential of an area;
  • marketing initiatives;
  • the creation of tourism hubs to facilitate a multi-sectoral approach,
  • activities that centre on the development and renovation of infrastructure, which contribute to historic and heritage based tourism;
  • actions that promote the development of cultural/heritage infrastructure of local significance and arts-based activities and events; and
  • the provision of amenity and leisure facilities, which can support adventure/eco-based tourism.
LEADER supported tourism projects must comply with relevant Fáilte Ireland or other sectoral standards.
Social Inclusion – Provision of Basic Services Targeted at Hard to Reach Communities
This sub-theme focuses improving on access to basic services for people living in rural and remote areas and groups who are at risk of social exclusion. In some cases, it might involve the introduction of a new service or the re-introduction of a previously withdrawn service under the following categories –
  • community;
  • education/training;
  • social/cultural; and
  • recreation;
Examples of groups who may be at risk of social exclusion include, but are not limited to –
  • those living in disadvantaged areas;
  • those living in remote and less accessible areas;
  • unemployed and underemployed people;
  • fishermen or farmers on small holdings;
  • women;
  • children;
  • lone parents;
  • people with a disability;
  • older people;
  • people living alone;
  • NEETs (Young People who are Not in Employment, Education or Training);
  • migrants/new communities (including refugees/asylum seekers);
  • Travellers; and
Rural Youth
The promotion of youth entrepreneurship and associated training can provide improved pathways for young people to access economic opportunities in rural areas. Actions that develop the social infrastructure of rural areas provide important opportunities for young people to realise their potential. These might include –
  • the provision of youth clubs/cafés;
  • improved access to ICT;
  • sports/recreation activities;
  • arts-based projects; and
  • youth development programmes.
Young people, particularly those who may be vulnerable, also have distinct needs regarding the type of services they may need to access.
For the purposes of LEADER, young people are defined as people aged 15 to 35 years.
Rural Environment – Protection and Sustainable use of Water Resources
Greater protection of local water resources is important for sustaining rural communities. Environmental schemes have the potential to play a pivotal role in addressing pressures on water reserves and in supporting the local community to conserve this valuable resource. Actions funded under this sub-theme may include –
  • raising general awareness on water conservation issues,
  • the development of local water conservation plans and feasibility studies;
  • capacity building on the technical aspects of water recycling schemes and
  • initiatives that conserve water, for example, community programmes for rain water harvesting and the use of greywater for fertiliser and general washing.
Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity
Biodiversity encompasses natural wildlife, flora and fauna and is an important foundation to the healthy functioning of ecosystems. The protection of biodiversity is a growing concern, with the loss of various species of wildlife, flora and fauna as well as their natural habitat. Factors that impact on local biodiversity include human population growth, cutting hedgerows and changes in land usage.
Actions that promote local biodiversity might include –
  • awareness raising and practical guidance on how to protect biodiversity domestically;
  • feasibility studies and action plans in respect of larger scale projects that enhance and protect particular aspects of biodiversity; and
  • local initiatives that support biodiversity and environmental improvements, for example, the upgrading of parks and river walks, establishment of nature corridors, habitat creation and planting of native species.
Development of Renewable Energy
Clean sources of energy have a lower environmental impact on nature than conventional energy technologies. This sub-theme seeks to mitigate the impact of recent environmental trends, including climate change. Community-based initiatives will play a key role in realising national and EU environmental targets, particularly in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through energy infrastructure. Renewable energy technologies may also generate new employment opportunities in rural areas.
Actions might include –
  • general awareness raising on environmental issues and feasibility studies relating to green technologies;
  • capacity building actions focusing on the installation and use of renewable energy technologies; and
  • local projects involving technologies that deliver sustainable energy alternatives, for example, biomass heating, solar power, community wind farms and community-based heating systems.
[2]e.g. traditional crafts, new media and design
[3] CEDRA, Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy, 2014
Background Information on the operation of Leader Funding 2014-2020:
The North Cork Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) – a Committee of Cork County Council – is confirmed as the new LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) for North Cork and the programme officially commenced on the 1st December 2016. The new group – branded “LEADER North Cork” – manages the allocation of €5.1 million in LEADER funding across North Cork for the period 2016-2020.
In addition Cork County Council is providing a supplementary Community Development Initiative Fund of just under €1.3m to support the programme which brings the total funding available to communities in North Cork to just under € 6.4 million.
The programme is being rolled out by a consortium of the North Cork LAG and the three incumbent local development companies operating in the North Cork Council division namely; Avondhu-Blackwater Partnership CLG, Ballyhoura Development CLG and IRD Duhallow CLG.
The LEADER Programme supports local and community projects across a diverse range of themes including; Rural tourism, enterprise development, rural towns, access to broadband, basic services targeted at hard-to-reach communities, rural youth, protection and sustainable use of water resources, protection and improvement of local biodiversity, and development of renewable energy.
The programme is co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Members of the newly formed North Cork LAG include;
Cllr. Gerard Murphy (Chair) – Cork County Council
Cllr. Bernard Moynihan (Vice Chair) – Cork County Council
Cllr. John Paul O’Shea – Cork County Council
Cllr. Noel McCarthy – Cork County Council
Mr. James Fogarty – Divisional Manager, North, Cork County Council
Mr. Kevin Curran – North Cork Local Enterprise Office
Ms. Marie O’Flynn – Department of Social Protection
Ms. Geraldine Canning – Cork ETB
Mr. Pádraig Casey – Ballyhoura Development Group CLG
Ms. Maura Walsh – IRD Duhallow CLG
Mr. Sean Hegarty – Avondhu Blackwater Partnership CLG
Mr. Michael Doyle – Environment (National Pillar)
Mr. Julian O’Keefe – IFA
Mr. Declan O’Leary – Youth Pillar (Foróige)
Mr. Sean Kelly – Cork County PPN
Ms. Brid Coakley – Cork County PPN
Ms. Margaret Fenton – Housing (Respond!)