Working for national and international companies could become easier for people living in Kilkenny if plans to set up Remote Working Hubs (RWH) are successful.
A funding application for up to six new RWHs across the county has been lodged by Kilkenny County Council in the last week, and it is hoped that positive news will follow.
Funding is being made available under the government’s Connected Hubs Fund.
If successful in its application, Kilkenny County Council will use the funding to upgrade existing broadband connection points to RWHs.
Many community centres across the county already have a broadband connection - with some rural workers sitting outside them in their cars to avail of the wifi. If successful, the Kilkenny centres will get four desks, printing and audio-visual facilities, as well as access facilities.
Six community centres in Kilkenny already have broadband connectivity: Graine, Tullahought, Ballyouskill, Crosspatrick, Galmoy and Muckalee. Two more connections are in the works, with Dunbell approved for installation and an application for broadband connectivity coming from Glenmore.
RWHs are hoped to be developed in Ballyouskill, Crosspatrick, Galmoy and Muckalee.
They will open the centres to people who can book online using the Connected Hubs website https://www.connected hubs.ie/.
The website is a national network of RWH, which can be used by anyone, remote workers, students and anyone who can book in and then bring along their own laptop. Each hub will put online the spaces and times available to book.
Two RWHs are already up and running in Kilkenny - New Work Junction near MacDonagh Junction, which is a private company, and the Abbey Business Centre, on Abbey Street, which has applied for funding under the scheme and, if successful, will be able to offer 18 remote working stations.
If they are successful in setting up the RWHs Kilkenny County Council will promote them.
The advantages of RWHs are many. Not only will it allow people living in Kilkenny to work closer to home and not have to commute to Dublin or other cities, but it means people can work for companies in any part of the world.
Benefits to local communities will follow, with remote workers spending money locally, on lunches or coffees, having more time at home that can be used to volunteer in the community, as well as environmental benefits as people don’t have to commute long distances in their private vehicles.
In April Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, launched a €5 million fund to support the development of Ireland’s first national network of remote working hubs.
She said: “Over the past 12 months, so many of us have experienced the benefits of remote working – reduced commutes, more time spent with your family, increased footfall in towns, a lower carbon footprint.
“As we emerge from this pandemic, the Government is determined to make remote working a permanent reality for thousands of people.
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