The near doubling of the Community Employment materials and training budget to more than €20m is very good news for communities in Roscommon and South Leitrim, Deputy Frank Feighan said this week.
“There was a lot of understandable concern when, in the last budget, the Department of Social Protection announced a 66% cut in the training and materials grant for CE schemes from €1,500 to €500 per person on each scheme,” he told the Leitrim Observer.
“As a result, many CE schemes in Roscommon and Leitrim expressed grave fears about the ability to live on the reduced budget.”
Following representations, however, Minister Burton signalled earlier this year that up to €1,000 would be made available after a review and consultation with the schemes. The review required schemes to secure value for money particularly in insurance and audit fees and I understand substantial savings have now been made.
“The original training and materials grant budget of €11m has now been increased by a further €9.5m, bringing the new CE materials and training budget to €20.5m. CE schemes are now being informed about what level of grant they are getting.
“We must remember that it’s not a one-size-fits all grant, rather the grant is being made available depending on the schemes’ needs, so different schemes will get different amounts depending on their resources. We must also remember that the number of places available on CE has remained constant at 23,300, including supervisors,” said Deputy Feighan.