Minister O’Brien announces an additional €3.2 million extension to the Community Services Programme Support Fund
Joe O’Brien, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, has today (Friday, 9th April) announced additional funding of €3.2 million for the Community Services Programme 2021 Support Fund. This brings the total amount allocated under the CSP Support Fund in 2020 and 2021, to €7.95 million.
Press Release DRCD published 9th April: available here
Announcing the funding the Minister said:
“I am very pleased to once again provide additional financial supports to those CSP organisations continuing to face unprecedented difficulties as a result of COVID-19. Given the evolving situation, many of these organisations have been unable to operate properly for some time now and this is having a significant impact on their ability to generate income to meet essential overhead costs. It is important that we continue to provide supports for these vulnerable organisations so that they, in turn, can continue to provide services when the restrictions are lifted.”
Specific funding is being provided to help those organisations most in need to meet their ongoing operational costs such as insurance, light and heat and audit fees.
In addition, the existing supports already in place towards additional wage and PRSI supports are being extended from 1 April to end June 2021, in line with the extension of other Government wage support schemes.
The Minister went on to say:
“Taken with the recent announcement in relation to a further €10 million for the COVID-19 Stability Fund, these additional supports will continue to provide much-needed assistance to those organisations who are delivering valuable services in our communities. As Minister, I would like to express my appreciation for the work carried out by these organisations and I am very pleased to announce these additional supports.”
This extension of the CSP Support Fund will be administered over the coming weeks by Pobal, who manage the Programme on behalf of the Department.
Community Supports Programme
The Community Supports Programme 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.
Review of Community Services Programme
Indecon International Economic Consultants were engaged to carry out an independent review of the CSP. The final report was published in September 2020 with a High Level Action Plan prepared by the Department and Pobal. The Department and Pobal have commenced work on the restructuring of the programme. Pending the transition to the new restructured programme, the open Expression of Interest programme is now closed. It is expected that the Programme will open targeted calls to address identified gaps in service delivery in late 2021.
2021 Support Fund
The CSP Support Fund, which provides assistance to organisations to retain CSP supported employees, is being extended from 1 April to end June 2021 in line with other Government wage support scheme extensions. The CSP Support Fund, which when combined with normal levels of CSP funding, provides additional levels of funding to CSP supported organisations who are struggling financially to ensure that they can pay their full-time CSP supported employees a maximum of €350 net per week, with a proportionate amount for part-time CSP supported staff. Under this Support Fund, CSP supported organisations who are struggling financially also benefit from support towards the managers’ Employers’ PRSI contribution, based on gross earnings of €32,000 per annum.
In addition, a once off non-wage support grant “COVID Operational Funding” is being provided to aid CSP supported organisations considered by the Department to be most in need. The funding is intended to be used to cover overhead costs such as insurance, light, heat and Audit fees.
COVID-19 Stability Fund
In 2020, a €50 million support package for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Charities and Social Enterprises was launched by Government and administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development. This funding was made available from the Dormant Accounts Fund and consisted of the COVID-19 Stability Fund and the Innovate Together Fund.
An additional €10 million has been allocated to the Stability Fund as part of the COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 plan announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday 23rd February. Further details on how relevant organisations can apply for this funding will be available shortly.