Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, today (22 July 2021) announced over €8.8 million in funding under the Connected Hubs Scheme – a key deliverable of Our Rural Future. The funding will enable existing hubs and broadband connection points to enhance and add capacity to remote working infrastructure in every region across Ireland. Grants will also fund measures to assist hubs to deal with COVID related challenges.
The funding will benefit 117 projects and will support a wide range of relevant works nationwide, including the expansion of existing hubs, installation of privacy booths, access control and security systems, the conversion of existing open plan space to modular offices, and provision of enhanced audio visual, networking and conferencing facilities.
Today's funding announcement by Minister Heather Humphreys highlights the central role of the Connected Hubs network in #OurRuralFuture and the many existing and emerging opportunities for sustainable communities in regional and rural areas.Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO Western Development Commission
This investment will support the ongoing development of the recently launched National Hub Network – connectedhubs.ie – which already has more than 100 hubs using the platform and 380 hubs mapped. The supports delivered through this network will help build on the fantastic asset Ireland already has in its connected working ecosystem.
Tomás Ó’Síocháin CEO of the Western Development Commission welcomes todays announcement:
“The Connected Hubs network continues to grow, improving quality of life by giving people the freedom to work and build a career near to where they live. Today’s funding announcement by Minister Heather Humphreys highlights the central role of the Connected Hubs network in #OurRuralFuture and the many existing and emerging opportunities for sustainable communities in regional and rural areas.”
Included in the funding announced by the Minister is:
- €2.8m to develop remote working infrastructure in the Eastern and Midland region
- €3m to develop remote working infrastructure in the North-West region
- €3m to develop remote working infrastructure in the Southern region
Announcing the successful projects today at Enterprise House in Carlow, Minister Humphreys said:
“Our Rural Future recognises hubs as ideal locations for people to work remotely, as well as acting as key economic assets for towns and villages. The increased shift to remote working as a result of the pandemic has provided an opportunity for a greater regional distribution of jobs to support a better work life balance for many people. This opportunity is reflected in Our Rural Future and in policy initiatives across the whole of Government, such as Making Remote Work, the National Remote Working strategy.
The investment announced today will provide an increased number of families and individuals with the option to live and work in our rural communities. Remote working from hubs and Broadband Connection Points benefitting from this funding will also support local economies and assist in reducing our carbon emissions.”
Examples of successful projects include:
- €250,000 for an Údarás na Gaeltachta to upgrade 10 existing Gteic hubs in Galway, Mayo & Donegal. This investment will build capacity and support the further consolidation and development of the Gteic Network and allow it to contribute to the ongoing development of the National Hub Network.
- €180,000 for the development of existing hubs in Cavan, Monaghan & Louth. This project will develop a network of small & medium sized affordable and accessible hubs which will expand remote working capacity in the region & aid development of the National Hub Network
- €239,000 for Co. Galway Broadband Connection Points. This investment will develop & expand remote working capacity in 8 BCPs throughout the County. This will represent a significant addition in capacity for the region. As a part of this investment remote working facilities on 2 offshore islands in particular have the potential to significantly benefit the local economy and community.
Minister Humphreys concluded:
“I am particularly delighted that the projects approved today will support the ongoing development of the National Hub Network which I recently launched. With almost 400 remote working hubs already identified and mapped on connectedhubs.ie, this network will continue to grow and develop over the coming months and years and I would urge all existing and new hubs to become members and take advantage of the ongoing supports which the Network will provide.”
Full details of the 117 projects approved for funding by the Minister under the Connected Hubs Scheme are available HERE.
ConnectedHubs.ie is a part of the Our Rural Future initiative by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The project is being delivered by the Western Development Commission.