Minister O’Brien announces an additional €3.55 million extension to the Community Services Programme Support Fund
Mr Joe O Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities has today, Friday 27th November, announced additional funding of €3.55m for the Community Services Programme (CSP) 2020 Support Fund. This brings the total amount allocated under the Fund to €4.75m.
Announcing the funding, the Minister said :
“I am delighted to be in a position to extend the Support Fund to assist CSP supported organisations who are struggling financially. I am very aware of the challenges facing community organisations and I am committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these”.
In the normal course the Support Fund would provide an additional once off payment to help organisations who were struggling financially, however, as a result of COVID-19 it has been repurposed to provide assistance of up to €350 per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) position per week.
The Minister added –
“The COVID-19 crisis has brought unprecedented challenges to every CSP supported organisation throughout the country resulting in changes in the way in which they deliver their services, while also adhering to public health guidelines. Today’s announcement of over €3.5m brings the total Support Fund to €4.75m. It also includes funding of €0.75m for the Employers’ PRSI element for the manager’s position. It is essential that we provide supports to CSP supported organisations to ensure they can continue to provide services when the restrictions are lifted.”
As CSP supported organisations were not eligible to avail of the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, which provided employers with a reduced rate of Employers PRSI contribution of 0.5%, it was considered appropriate to provide funding to assist organisations who are struggling financially to meet the Employer’s PRSI contribution for the manager positions also during this time.
Almost €47 million will be provided under the Programme in 2020 to 425 organisations supporting over 2,030 positions.
The Minister concluded :
“The services that CSP organisations provide to their local communities are irreplaceable and I want to thank them all for their efforts. I also want to take this opportunity to commend all those organisations that have remained open providing necessary supports such as Meals on Wheels and indeed increased their services during this crisis period.”
The funding will be administered over the coming weeks by Pobal, who manage the Programme on behalf of the Department.
The CSP currently supports community-based organisations to provide local social, economic and environmental services through a social enterprise model, providing a contribution towards the cost of staff in CSP organisations. It typically supports organisations to meet local service gaps and provide access to services and facilities that would otherwise generally be unavailable.
Indecon International Economic Consultants were engaged to carry out the independent review of the CSP. The final report was published in late September with a High Level Action Plan, prepared by the Department and Pobal. The Plan sets out the proposed timeline for delivery of each phase. The Department and Pobal have now commenced work on the restructuring of the Programme. Pending the transition to the new restructured programme, the open Expression of Interest process is now closed. It is expected that the Programme will open targeted calls to address identified gaps in service delivery in 2021.
2020 Support Fund
The CSP Support Fund when combined with normal levels of CSP funding, will provide additional funding to CSP supported organisations who are struggling financially to ensure that they can pay their full-time CSP supported employees a maximum payment of €350 net per week, with a proportionate amount for part-time CSP supported staff, for a number of weeks. Under this extension of the Support Fund, CSP supported organisations who are struggling financially will now also benefit from support towards the managers employers PRSI contribution, based on gross earnings of €32,000 per annum.
2020 Appeals Process
Organisations that are not successful in meeting the specified criteria to be included in the 2020 Support Fund, will be given an opportunity to appeal the decision