YoYo Youth Cafe and Mullingar EYE received funding under the Creative Communities initiative last year. The group are seen here with local Gardaí after receiving a Garda Youth Award last November.

Funding announced for local Creative Communities projects

The government has allocated €175,000 to Westmeath County Council to fund local projects as part of the Creative Ireland Programme's Creative Communities initiative.

The funding will offer thousands of opportunities across Ireland for people of all ages to engage with creative projects in their local area.

In 2021 it enabled local authorities to deliver nearly 1,500 community-led creative projects. This funding has proved to be an important flexible resource that has enabled local authorities to sustain and develop vibrant creative communities.

The ambition of the Creative Ireland Programme is to mainstream creativity in the life of the nation. Participation in cultural and creative activity promotes individual, community and national wellbeing.

Creative Communities is a collaboration, between central and local government, between culture and industry, between artists, policy makers and communities.

Some of the projects that received funding last year included YoYo Youth Cafe and Mullingar EYE, whose young members developed and released an album of original songs, Westmeath History Society to facilitate an online course in doing local research, and the Goldsmith Winter Festival.

Since the programme was launched in 2017, there has been an investment of €21 million from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in Creative Ireland initiatives undertaken by local authorities.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said that Westmeath County Council and the other local authorities have carried out “excellent work” on behalf of the Creative Ireland Programme.

“Since the inception of Creative Ireland our partners in local government have been key to the delivery of creative projects that promote an improved sense of wellbeing, social connections and economic development within their communities. Through these projects local authorities have been able to create exciting and constructive opportunities for people and communities. I want to congratulate our local authority partners for their energy and creativity in delivering so many wonderful projects that sustain and enhance the lives of everyone in their communities.”

Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, TD, added:

“Our Local Authorities are the closest arm of the State to our citizens and are well placed to engage directly with local artists and community groups. Through the PPN and other statutory committees and vehicles, they are linked in with our older people, members of the traveller community, community and voluntary groups and key stakeholders in every locality in the country. This scheme is wide reaching, and as a Government we want all members of society to have equal access cultural and creative opportunities.”