Towns and villages to get €2.8m for ‘cycle cafes’ and outdoor cinemas

Heather Humphreys launches scheme to help 500 communities adapt to Covid-19

Funding will go to supporting the establishment of “cycle cafes” – coffee stops for cyclists on greenways and other rural cycling routes. File photograph: Getty

Funding will go to supporting the establishment of “cycle cafes” – coffee stops for cyclists on greenways and other rural cycling routes. File photograph: Getty

 

Drive-through cinemas, “cycle cafes”, and outdoor seating and dining facilities are among the projects to be funded in a €2.8 million package to help rural communities adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister for Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys launches the €2.8 million fund on Monday for 106 towns and villages and says it will “benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely”.

It is the first round of financial supports for projects that adapt outdoor spaces for social gatherings, dining or the hosting of outdoor events.

Minister for Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys: €2.8 million fund will “benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely”. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
Minister for Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys: €2.8 million fund will “benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work and socialise safely”. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

It will also fund marketing campaigns to encourage people back into towns and villages, support the online presence of towns and villages, and finance infrastructural changes to allow for social distancing.

Drive-through cinema

Among the schemes to be funded is the development of a drive-through cinema in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, which will receive €22,000 to buy an outdoor cinema screen, generator and outdoor seating.

Other examples include Kildare townwhere the local authority will receive €40,000 towards the removal of existing car-parking spaces in Market Square for social distancing and to allow for outdoor eating and queuing for customers of businesses on the square.

Carlingford, Co Louth, will get €40,000 for the provision of cafe-style outdoor furniture, seating, parasols and traffic segregation in key areas of the town, and an activation plan for the town in order to increase footfall.

Projects also include widening walkways and footpaths; sheltered areas outside local amenities; and improvements to community centres to allow for remote working.

Rural routes

Funding will also go to supporting the establishment of cycle cafes – coffee stops for cyclists on greenways and other rural cycling routes.

This is the first tranche of funding announced on Monday under the enhanced €25 million Town and Village Renewal Scheme which has been in place since 2016 to help revive rural communities.

Some 500 towns and village are expected to benefit this year as part of the €17 million rural package Ms Humphreys’s department secured in the July stimulus package.

“It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of Covid-19,” Ms Humphreys said.