I can confirm that €38,066 is being provided for community centres in County Clare and will be put to extremely good use. This is part of a €3.2 million funding announcement by the Department of Social Protection to support the operation of community centres and facilities for 91 not-for-profit companies nationally.

I am delighted to see funding being provided for the community centre in Lisdoonvarna.

Community centres work at the heart of our community and offer a range of family and community supports. They could not operate without the financial support from the Government’s Community Services Programme (CSP). This funding enables centres to open and supports quality services to everyone in the area.

Activities available in community centres cater to a wide array of individuals and groups in the community ranging from pre-school children to mothers and babies groups, to active retirement clubs. Community centres provide a vital social outlet to many people in our community. This is hugely important given the issue of rural isolation. You cannot put a value on the role that community centres play in bringing members of the community together.

The contracts announced today will directly support 170 full-time positions over the coming years. Indirectly, over 50 more people will be provided with full-time employment from resources generated from the services delivered.

The Community Services Programme supports the provision of employment opportunities for people from disadvantaged groups by working with community organisations that operate on a community business or social enterprise basis. Employment is targeted at people with disabilities, long-term unemployed people, travellers, lone parents and rehabilitated drug users. The programme directly supports approximately 2,700 people in employment nationally and a further 500 employees indirectly.