Community Development

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Séan-nós na nÓg - Ealaín na Gaeltachta Teo

Údarás na Gaeltachta’s community development strategy aims to empower Gaeltacht communities to optimise and develop their local resources.

An tÚdarás recognises that economic development, cultural conservation, language enhancement and job-creation are intertwined and central to sustainable development of Gaeltacht communities.

An tÚdarás offers a range of schemes and initiatives to support Gaeltacht communities to play active role in the economic, social and cultural development of their communities.

The organisation provides substantial funding and support services to over 30 community cooperatives and community development companies throughout the Gaeltacht which assists them in becoming strong and proactive resources local development groups.

An tÚdarás administers a number of social employment schemes, provides funding to support pre-school groups, youth clubs, arts and culture initiatives and language services centres. It works with the local community structures, through the various social employment schemes, to enhance the social infrastructure of the Gaeltacht and ensure the provision of services for the elderly.

Community Development Organisations

Community structures operate as local development vehicles in many Gaeltacht areas. They provide a range of important local services, they co-ordinate or facilitate community development activities and projects and they provide advisory services to the voluntary sector in their operational areas. Community structures initiate and direct community projects and schemes throughout the Gaeltacht. To view a list of Community Development organisations located in the Gaeltacht click here .

An tÚdarás provides substantial funding and support services to community development organisations. Support schemes are available to enable them to progress or implement their development projects.

Administration Grant

This grant is paid towards the administration costs of the community structures every quarter. Community structures with less intensive programmes are awarded smaller grants. Application for the Administration Grant must be submitted annually. Application for Payment of Grant must be submitted on a quarterly basis.

Community Enterprise Scheme

The Community Enterprise Scheme aims to encourage committees and community organisations in the Gaeltacht to establish community enterprises.

The scheme is available to Gaeltacht committees and community development organisations registered with Údarás na Gaeltachta and operating on a democratic basis. The organisations must be representative of the local communities which they serve and must be operating in accordance with work programmes agreed with Údarás na Gaeltachta Regional Offices.

Social Employment Schemes

Údarás na Gaeltachta acts as an agent for the Department of Social Protection in administering community employment schemes in the Gaeltacht. An tÚdarás administers the payments, provides an advisory and management service to the applicants/voluntary groups and assists in facilitating the preparation of the required work plans.

These employment schemes have a large part to play in the development and improvement of community facilities, sporting facilities, landscaping and in the conservation of heritage sites.

  • They provide work experience to unemployed people
  • They provide training for participants
  • They provide many necessary basic services in the community as well as upgrading and maintaining sporting and leisure facilities.

There is a limit to the number of participants who may be employed at any one time.

Community Employment Scheme

Projects that respond to an identified community need and provide development for participants are eligible; for example, projects involving heritage, arts, culture, tourism, sport, and the environment.

Projects should have the agreement of the relevant trade unions and must not displace or replace existing jobs. The project must offer valuable work opportunities for participants.

The sponsor is provided with resources to employ unemployed people as participants. Normally, participants are employed for one year, for an average of 39 hours per fortnight. The eligibility criteria allow you to recruit participants provided they are more than one year unemployed. Through their period spent at work in a project, they improve their chances of being integrated into subsequent employment elsewhere in the local economy.

Údarás na Gaeltachta will pay a wages grant for all approved participants for the full period of employment. A contribution towards full-time supervision and material costs will be made. Grants towards Participant Development will be provided. Support is also being phased for Sponsor groups for development and training in the skills required for managing the project and its resources.

An application form may be downloaded below.

Rural Social Scheme (RSS)

The RSS aims to:

  • Provide income support for farmers and fishermen who are currently in receipt of social welfare payments
  • Provide services which will benefit the rural community.

The RSS allows low-income farmers and fishermen who are unable to make a living from fishing or farming to earn a supplementary income.

An applicant must be in receipt of Farm Assist or must have a herd or flock number and also be in receipt of one of the following: Unemployment Assistance /Unemployment Benefit (if previously on a Community Employment Scheme) /Disablity Allowance, to take part in this scheme.

All the work undertaken during the RSS will be beneficial to the local community. The types of projects carried out under the RSS are likely to include:

  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of the elderly, community care for both pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work – maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Any other appropriate community project identified during the course of the Scheme.

Participants will experience opportunities to improve existing, or develop new skills, and perform valuable work in the community.

An application form may be downloaded below.

TÚS – Community Workplacement Initiative

Aims of Tús

The aims of TÚS are to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed and to provide certain services of benefit to communities.

While responsibility for the operation of TÚS rests with the Department of Social Protection, it is being managed at a local level in the Gaeltacht, on the Department’s behalf, by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Community & Voluntary Organisations will be able to develop and deliver services locally and benefit from the skills and experience the unemployed person can bring.

Who can participate on TÚS?

Participants will, in the first instance, be identified by the Department of Social Protection by applying the following conditions:

  • A person must be unemployed and in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment for at least 12 months, and in receipt of a jobseekers payment from the Department of Social Protection for at least 12 months, and
  • Currently be in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and
  • Be fully unemployed.

The Department’s local offices will contact people who satisfy the criteria. However, not everyone who meets the criteria will be contacted, as limited places will be available locally. When those identified agree to participate, they will be referred to Údarás na Gaeltachta for interview and consideration for placement.

Údarás na Gaeltachta will maintain a panel from which persons will be recruited. As placement opportunities arise, those on the panel will be matched with the work and recruited.

Prior to being offered a placement, it will be necessary to ensure that a person’s general suitability for the work involved and their experience of similar work, is established. This will be done by Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Community & Voluntary Organisation.

What type of work will be undertaken

All of the work undertaken while participating on TÚS will be beneficial to the local community and the types of projects carried out are likely to include:

  • Energy conservation work in homes and community buildings;
  • Social care of all age groups and persons with a disability or limited mobility;
  • Caretaking, securing, supervising of community buildings and spaces;
  • Renovation of community and sporting facilities, including the regeneration and enhancement of community, recreation and sporting spaces;
  • Work in support of the promotion of the Irish language, other cultural and heritage activities;
  • Community administration, research and community event mangement;
  • Coaching for sporting activities (where operated by designated sporting organisations);
  • Repair of equipment for developing world – farm tools, bicycles, computers, sewing machines, health equipment.

Further information available at

Job Initiative Programme

The Job Initiative is a programme providing full-time employment for people who are 35 years of age or over, unemployed for 5 years or more, and in receipt of social welfare payments over that period.

Following changes introduced to the Job Initiative scheme by the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment in late 2004, there is currently no recruitment onto the scheme while existing participants will have their contracts renewed.

The main purpose of the programme is to assist long-term unemployed people to prepare for work opportunities.

Application Forms