Two Kilkenny applications for funding under the Government's 'Ability' programme have been unsuccessful with less than half of all applications not getting any finances.
Tipperary meanwhile had three applications and all three are to receive funding totaling over €1.2m while Dublin had 24 applications with 13 of these getting monies worth over €8m.
The ‘Ability’ programme is a new pre-activation programme for young people with disabilities and promotes employment prospects and meaningful social roles for young people with disabilities and in particular, young people who are distant from the labour market, using a range of person-centred supports.
Fianna Fáil's Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Social Protection for the number of applications for funding that were received for the Ability Programme by county, the number of applications approved and the amount of funding allocated.
In a written response, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Finian McGrath, said: "The 27 projects to be funded will provide supports and assistance to more than 2,600 young people with disabilities aged between 15 to 29 years old."
The initiative is being co-funded by the Exchequer and the EU (under the European Social Fund, as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020) which demonstrates the commitment, at both a Governmental and EU level, to supporting and assisting young people with disabilities to achieve their individual employment and other goals.
Pobal have been contracted by the Government to manage the programme including the application and evaluation process.
As part of the application process, Pobal undertook an extensive information campaign (including information events held in Cavan, Dublin and Limerick) and a facility to address questions that potential applicants might have about the process.
Pobal received 59 applications which were assessed in detail and made recommendations for funding for 27 applications to the total value of €15.6m over three years.
At the time of the launch of the measure, it was expected that funding for the programme would amount to some €10 million over a three year period.
However, given the number and quality of the proposals received, enhanced funding arrangements have been put in place of €16 million to support all 27 projects recommended for funding by Pobal.
When account is taken of costs associated with administration and evaluation of the programme, total programme cost over its entire lifetime is expected to be in excess of €16 million.
Minister McGrath added: "Recommendations as to which applications should receive funding were based on a detailed and independent assessment process undertaken by Pobal. Pobal awarded scores (out of 100) for all applications, with scores being assigned to each proposal based on a weighted marking system linked with the schemes evaluation criteria as follows:
- Meeting the programme/ measure priorities (40%)
- Need for the proposal (20%)
- Capacity of the organisation (20%)
- Value for money (20%)
"The assessment process was based on the materials provided by the applicant as to how they proposed to address the objectives of the scheme in line with the award criteria, as set out above. This process was based entirely on the quality of the application and this applied irrespective of where the application originated. Only projects receiving a score of 60 or above were deemed by Pobal to be of sufficiently high standard to be recommended for funding.
"On this basis, Pobal recommended 27 projects as being suitable for funding; this represents some 46% of the proposals received."