Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys launches €7 Million Fund to develop community facilities & amenities in rural areas

 24 Feb 2022

Applications invited under the 2022 CLÁR Programme Focus on developing local facilities and amenities in rural areas Grants of up to €50k available for wide range of projects including Youth Clubs, Handball Alleys, Community Gyms, Walking Tracks & more Minister introduces specific CLÁR measure to support Island communities 

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (February 24th, 2022) announced the launch of the 2022 CLÁR Programme.  

CLÁR provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have experienced significant levels of population decline. 

Community Groups are encouraged to consider applying for funding for projects such as the provision of Youth Hubs, Multi-Use Gaming Areas (MUGAs), Skateboard Parks, Playgrounds, Handball Alleys, Community Cinemas and Gyms and much more (see full list below). 
Minister Humphreys has increased funding for the 2022 CLÁR programme by over 25% this year, in recognition of the importance of the programme to some of our most remote rural areas.
Announcing the details of the programme today, Minister Humphreys said: 

I am delighted to announce the launch of the 2022 CLÁR Programme. 
The priority of this year’s scheme is the development of facilities and amenities which will will enhance our rural communities. 
As part of Our Rural Future, I want to ensure in particular that young people living in rural areas have access to amenities which they can enjoy with their friends be it youth hubs, walking tracks, basketball courts or skateboard parks. 
CLÁR provides small grants which can make a big difference and I am encouraging local community groups, youth clubs, men and women sheds and sports clubs to apply via their Local Authority if they have an idea for a project which could make a difference in their area
The Minister continued:

I’m also pleased to create a new Measure specifically for our islands, which are a key part of ‘Our Rural Future’. 
Like many of our other CLÁR areas, our off-shore Islands have seen significant levels of depopulation over the years. They also face specific challenges such as rural isolation, population decline, service accessibility and social disadvantage. 

Funding will also be provided to enable voluntary organisations acquire wheelchair accessible vehicles. This will facilitate free transport services to day- care and medical services for people with mobility issues and for those attending cancer treatment centres.  
And for the first time, we will also be accepting applications from Community First Responder Organisations, as well as Voluntary Search and Rescue Organisations
Full details of the Programme and application process are available on the Department’s website
Contact The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office on 01 773 6843 or 0864618285; or by email for more information


The CLÁR Programme (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais) is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation in the past.  The programme was originally launched in October 2001 but was closed for applications in 2010. The scheme was re-opened in 2016 to support the development of remote rural areas through small-scale capital projects involving collaboration between Local Authorities and communities, as well as for other community-based organisations.  Since the programme was relaunched in 2016, it has provided funding of over €45 million for over 1,700 projects under a range of different Measures. 
Areas targeted under the CLÁR Programme are parts of counties: Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, and Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow and all of County Leitrim.  A national map of CLÁR areas, together with individual county maps is available here
2022 Measures
The programme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) with Measure 1 delivered by the Local Authorities (LA) in consultation with local communities. Measures 2 and 3 are administered directly by the Department. 
The measures being funded under the 2022 CLÁR Programme are:

  • Measure 1: Developing Community Facilities and Amenities (via LA)
  • Measure 2: Mobility, Cancer Care and Community First Responders Transport (direct to DRCD)
  • Measure 3: Our Islands (direct to DRCD)

Measure 1:  Developing Community Facilities and Amenities
The updated Measure 1 will be administered by the relevant Local Authorities in CLÁR areas and will support a variety of capital interventions that contribute to the enhancement of existing, and/or the development of new, accessible Community Recreation Facilities. Applications can also include small scale renovation works to community facilities. The list below provides an indication of the types of interventions that may be supported, but is not exhaustive:

  • Multi-Use Gaming Areas (MUGAs) / Astro-Turf Facilities 
  • Skateboard Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Handball Alleys 
  • Tennis Courts
  • Basketball Courts 
  • Community Gyms 
  • Community Cinemas
  • Sensory Gardens 
  • Community Gardens
  • Outdoor Bowling Areas
  • Walking / Running Tracks
  • Outdoor Toilet Facilities 
  • Car Parking
  • Public Lighting

Measure 1 applications can also include small scale renovation works to community facilities e.g. to convert into suitable meeting areas and community spaces for community groups such as youth clubs and Mens' / Womens' Sheds.
In addition, Measure 1 will support projects which develop and enhance access to unique local heritage sites and/or areas of natural beauty in local communities e.g. walkways to important local sites. 
Up to 15 applications in total will be invited from relevant Local Authorities in respect of Measure 1. The maximum level of funding for any individual project is €50,000 and grant-funding is at a rate of 90% of total project costs.
Measure 2: Mobility, Cancer Care and Community First Responders Transport
Measure 2 will be administered directly by the Department. It is open to established organisations/groups that operate entirely on a voluntary basis and who are involved in the provision of transport services, free of charge, to people requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles to access day care or other medical therapy or respite services and/or those requiring transport to/from hospitals for treatment under the National Cancer Care Programme.  In addition to this, applications will also be accepted from Community First Responder Organisations, and Voluntary Search and Rescue Organisations.
Funding will be provided for up to 90% of the total cost of a hybrid/electric vehicle (including fit out), subject to a maximum grant of €50,000 for a wheelchair accessible vehicle and €100,000 for a bus. The scheme will provide up to 80% of the total cost of a petrol/diesel vehicle / fit out subject to a maximum grant of €50,000 for a wheelchair accessible vehicle and €100,000 for a bus. 
Measure 3 “Our Islands”- (New)
Our Rural Future commits to progressing vital infrastructure development for our island communities. An ambition of this policy is to ensure our offshore islands continue to support sustainable and vibrant communities, connectivity is enhanced, and that visitors have an opportunity to experience and appreciate the unique culture, heritage and environmental richness the islands have to offer. This Measure will provide funding for Island specific projects. 
(i) Island Community Transport will provide up to 90% of the total cost of a community bus / vehicle with an electric charging point which is powered by solar PV panels. Max grant available of €100,000 for a vehicle, increasing to €120,000 for a bus where solar panel and charging point are included, maximum one application per Island. In the case of a petrol / diesel vehicle (including fit out), funding of up to 80% of the total cost will be permitted.  
(ii) Island Outdoor Community Recreation Amenities will provide up to 90% of the total cost, of Outdoor Community Recreation Amenities – benches, picnic tables / areas, toilets – subject to a maximum grant of €50,000. All newly developed community facilities and amenities funded under the programme must be disability-friendly.

Full details of the scheme are published here.