Minister Heather Humphreys; Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland; Shane Nolan, Google Ireland
Rethink Ireland and Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, are seeking bright sparks from Kilkenny and across Ireland to lead the recovery of the county’s rural areas as we emerge from Covid-19.
Google.org provided a $500,000 (€430,000) grant to Rethink Ireland to establish the €600,000 Rural Recovery Fund, which is also supported by the Government of Ireland via the Dormant Accounts Fund.
The fund will be awarded to five organisations around Ireland that support education, job readiness and training programmes for people living in rural areas, with a particular focus on minority and under-served communities. Organisations in Kilkenny providing such services are being encouraged to apply to the fund.
The Rural Recovery Fund was launched this week by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys.
“I am delighted to be launching the new Rural Recovery Fund today," she said.
"I firmly believe that regenerating rural Ireland is key to Ireland’s recovery, both socially and economically. This new fund will work to lay the blueprint for developing vibrant and attractive rural towns and villages which place equality and community spirit at the heart of all they do and support the vision set out in our ambitious rural development strategy, ‘Our Rural Future’.”
Also speaking about the launch of the fund was Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland, who said: “Rethink Ireland has a vision of thriving rural communities. We imagine regional towns and rural communities that are re-energised and sustainable. The rise of remote work has given many people the freedom to choose where and how they want to live. We can work at homes or regional hubs and offices and people in rural communities no longer have to say, ‘there are no jobs here.’
“One of the positive outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the invigoration of some of Ireland’s rural areas. But we are not there yet. People living in our rural towns, villages and countryside are more likely to have a lower income, fewer job opportunities, and less access to basic services that are taken for granted in our larger towns and cities.
“The key to creating our human economy lies in empowering people. That’s why we are calling on creative and innovative organisations in Kilkenny to apply to the Rural Recovery Fund and work with us and Google.org and DRCD to keep rural Ireland thriving.”
Also commenting on the launch, Shane Nolan, Managing Director, New Business, Google Ireland, said: “Rural communities are the heartbeat of Ireland and it is businesses and organisations within those communities that keep our local and national economies afloat. Their contribution to the towns and communities in which they operate has always been important, but this became especially apparent throughout the pandemic. We have been committed to supporting organisations like this recover from the impacts of Covid-19, through mentoring, training and funding. As we enter a new phase of recovery, I am delighted that we are contributing through Google.Org to the Rural Recovery Fund, which will help ensure economic recovery supports reach every corner of Ireland.”
For information on how to apply to the fund, visit www.rethinkireland.ie/current_ fund/rural-recovery-fund-2021/
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