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Minister Joe O’Brien officially opens Kilkenny Volunteer Centre and visits community initiatives in Kilkenny

Minister Joe O’Brien officially opens Kilkenny Volunteer Centre and visits community initiatives in Kilkenny


  • Ceremony to mark the official opening of the Volunteer Centre
  • An opportunity to visit community initiatives in Kilkenny


Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien TD, today (Friday, 17 June 2022) officially opened the Kilkenny Volunteer Centre.

Volunteer Centres are supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development to provide a placement service between individuals and groups who want to volunteer, and organisations that are seeking to involve volunteers. They also provide advice, training, guidance on Garda vetting, and supports to volunteer organisations. The Minister also visited a number of community initiatives supported by his Departments.

The Minister’s visit commenced with the official opening of the Kilkenny Volunteer Centre.


Opening the new Volunteer Centre, Minister O’Brien said:


“I am delighted to be here with you today, on what is a great day for volunteering and Kilkenny. Kilkenny has a vibrant community sector with over 424 community groups registered with the Public Participation Network. The opening of the volunteer centre can provide support to the already established energetic community and provide opportunities for those who wish to contribute their skills and their time to volunteer in Kilkenny. This Volunteer Centre will ensure that both the volunteer and the volunteer involving organisations are supported.”


The Minister continued:


“As you are aware the implementation of our National Volunteering Strategy is well underway, the promotion of Kilkenny Volunteer Centre from Volunteer Information Service is a part of that progress. The National Volunteering Strategy’s vision of “a society where volunteering is promoted, valued, facilitated and supported so that people can contribute to developing and maintaining vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities is well reflected in the vision for Kilkenny’s volunteer centre.”


The next stop in the Minister’s itinerary was a visit to the Father McGrath Family Resource Centre, a voluntary managed centre, offering many valuable services to the community. He continued to the Ukrainian Response ‘One Stop Shop’ where he met with support workers and people that have arrived from Ukraine. He also visited Co Kilkenny Leader Partnership and the Council Chamber where he met with officials and the Community Response Forum who are coordinating the community-led response in assisting and supporting our friends from Ukraine.

Next on the Minister’s itinerary was a visit to Bishop Birch Community Centre where he met with the Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement (KTCM), one of seven projects supported under the Community Development Pilot Programme. The Minister went on to visit Kilkenny Community Radio, a project supported by the Community Services Programme. His final visit was to Butler House and Garden where he met with staff and participants of the Department of Social Protection funded Tús and Rural Social Schemes.


Speaking about his visit to Kilkenny, Minister O’Brien concluded:

“Today has been a wonderful opportunity to visit some of the many projects that are supported by the Departments of Rural and Community Development and Social Protection, as well as broader Government Departments. The work of these communities and volunteers cannot be underestimated. We will continue to support communities so that they can continue to become vibrant, inclusive and attractive places to live and work.”





The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office

01-773 6843 / 087-1734633


Note to photo desk

Official Photographer: Vicky Comerford

Tel no: 087-9081114



Notes to editor

Information regarding Kilkenny Volunteer Centre

  • Kilkenny Volunteer Centre is one of seven new Volunteer Centre’s launched in 2021. The seven new Volunteer Centres were launched in May 2021 as part of National Volunteering week.
  • Following the launch of the seven new Volunteer Centres (Kilkenny, Leitrim, Laois, Offaly, Roscommon Waterford and Wexford), there is now a Volunteer Centre in every county.
  • The Department works closely with Volunteer Centres and provides them with core funding to support their work.  Kilkenny VC received an allocation of €121,000 for 2021 & 2022.  The Department also provides funding, through Volunteer Ireland, to recognise volunteers through awards ceremonies, and carrying out capacity building in Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIO’s), research into volunteering trends, etc.
  • The Department has allocated €20,000 to recognise volunteer centres and Kilkenny VC has received €1,071 towards their award ceremony. 



Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP)

Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) is a non-profit, independent, community-led, local development organisation, with almost 25 years of experience delivering to communities on the ground, providing a wide range of services including training, work placements, grants and advice.


KLP was formed in 2008 as a result of the government’s decision on the integration of the functions and missions of local development companies operating in the rural development and social inclusion sectors. In general, at national level, these companies were effectively merged to local authority boundaries. In Kilkenny this resulted in the roles of Barrow Nore Suir Rural Development (BNS), Castlecomer District Community Development Network (CDCD), Kilkenny community Action Network (KCAN) and in the medium-term future- Loughboy Area Resource Centre being combined into one integrated company- KLP.


KLP is now continuing its work through the Rural Development Programme LEADER, Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and other supporting programmes in empowering local communities to improve their quality of life. This support comes in variety of ways including grant aid to innovative rural business and communities and development officer support to disadvantaged or marginalised communities and individuals.


Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)

SICAP assists both individuals and groups through a two-pronged approach; supporting communities and supporting individuals. SICAP target groups include; children and families living in disadvantaged areas, lone parents, new communities (including refugees/asylum seekers), people living in disadvantaged communities, people with disabilities, Roma, the unemployed (including those not on the Live Register), travellers, and young unemployed people living in disadvantaged areas.


Community Development Pilot Programme (CDP)

  • The aim of this pilot programme is to trial community led interventions that address poverty, social exclusion and inequality, and promote human rights. It is also a commitment under the Programme for Government.
  • The seven successful projects under the Community Development Programme were announced on 24 June 2021. A list of the organisations and the themes of the projects are as follows:

Organisation Name



Donegal Intercultural Platform



Clare Local Development Company



Inner City Organisations Network


Women, poverty, housing

Kilkenny Community Traveller Movement


Traveller Supports

Longford Community Resources



Cultur Migrant Centre

Meath, Louth


Independent Living Movement Ireland


Disabled persons

Community Enhancement Programme (CEP)

  • The Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) is targeted towards enhancing facilities in disadvantaged communities. It provides grants to community groups.
  • The funding is targeted at improving facilities in order to address disadvantage, in a manner consistent with each areas Local Economic and Community Plan.
  • The funding is administered locally by Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) across the country, with support from their Local Authority.
  • Applications for funding can be made to the relevant LCDC.
  • Typical enhancements under the Programme include the renovation of community centres and community amenities, improvements to town parks and common areas and spaces, and the purchase of equipment for community usage.
  • The Programme has also supported energy efficient upgrades, development of community gardens, provision of defibrillators, CCTV, and sports and IT equipment
  • Since 2018 €42.9 million has been provided in funding for the Community Enhancement Programme supporting over 10,000 community groups/organisations.



Tús scheme is an employment support measures for long-term unemployed people and other people in receipt of long-term payments from the Department of Social Protection.

The scheme employ participants to deliver a range of services to local communities throughout the country. These include local amenities management, environmental projects, arts and culture, sports, childcare, TidyTowns, health-related services, meals on wheels and drug rehabilitation schemes.

Rural Social Scheme (RSS)

RSS is an income support initiative providing part-time employment opportunities in community and voluntary organisations for farmers or fishermen in receipt of certain social welfare payments and underemployed in their primary occupation.