The Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Mary Howard, has welcomed the recent announcement by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, of the CLÁR programme for 2021.
Funding for the CLÁR programme has been increased by 10 per cent this year, in recognition of the importance of the programme to some of our most remote rural areas in the country, bringing the total allocation to €5.5 million this year.
CLÁR provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered significant levels of population decline, providing funding for safety measures around schools and community facilities. A new Innovation Measure has been introduced this year to support communities to develop new project ideas aimed at addressing social isolation, population change and social disadvantage.
Community gardens and allotments will also be supported in 2021, together with community recreation facilities such as seating areas, playgrounds, multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and skateboard parks.
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council, welcomed the CLÁR measures, which “will aim to meet the needs of recent changes in our communities along with the new ‘innovation’ measures targeted at piloting new ideas in communities to address socio-economic challenges. I am delighted to see new measures to support community gardens and allotments and support for playgrounds and other community recreation facilities, which will support safe interaction in our rural communities.”
The measures being funded under the 2021 CLÁR programme are:
- Measure 1 (operated by Clare County Council): Schools/Community Safety measures
- Measure 2 (operated by Clare County Council): Community Recreation
- Measure 3: Community Wellbeing measure – (a) Community Gardens and Allotments (operated by Clare County Council); (b) Mobility and Cancer Care Transport
- CLÁR Innovation Measure: new for CLÁR 2021.
Clare County Council will be operating Measures 1, 2 and 3(a) of the CLÁR scheme, with funding available for support for schools/community safety measures, outdoor community recreation facilities and community wellbeing measures including community gardens and allotments. Up to 10 applications in total will be invited from relevant Local Authorities in respect of Measures 1 and 2 combined, and a maximum of three applications invited under Measure 3(a). The maximum level of funding for any individual project is €50,000 and grant-funding is at a rate of 90 per cent of total project costs.
Under Measure 1
CLÁR 2021 will consider support for interventions that make the school/community facility environs healthier and safer for the children attending the schools, and for children and adults using the community facilities.
Under Measure 2
CLÁR 2021 will consider supports for the enhancement of existing and/or the development of new accessible outdoor community recreation facilities. This Measure is being expanded in 2021 to include playgrounds, MUGAs and amenities for teenagers/young adults through facilities such as skateboard parks. Upgrades to existing playgrounds, MUGAs and skateboard parks are also eligible.
This measure supports community gardens, allotments and sensory gardens. These facilities must be publicly accessible.
Measure 3 (b) for meals on wheels services and mobility and cancer care treatment will be administered directly by the Department.
New for 2021, this measure will also be administered directly by the Department for innovative or pilot projects that address specific challenges faced by communities in CLÁR areas.
Application form, guidelines and map of eligible areas of Clare are available at www.clarecoco.ie/services/community/grants/clar/ or telephone 065-6846222.