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The Community Services Programme is designed to address locally identified gaps in the provision of services to communities and to exploit the potential of community assets and resources already in place in support of the delivery of services to improve community well-being.  The Programme can play an important role in addressing disadvantage and provides long term employment opportunities for certain groups of people who have been previously unemployed. 

The Programme focuses on communities where public and private sector services are lacking, either through geographical or social isolation or because demand levels are not sufficient.  The Programme also enables the benefit of other public investment to be realised (as in the case of investment in community centres and resources).

A core requirement of the Programme is that Groups generate non-public revenue from their operations by charging fees for services delivered or fundraising.  Companies in contract with the Programme must be not for profit, social enterprise or community business in nature.  The services provided are wide ranging and include facilities and activities for older people and those with disabilities, rural transport, community media, childcare, leisure facilities, home insulation and environmental projects.  The Programme is managed for the Department of Social Protection by Pobal, a not-for-profit company that manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU.

The Community Services Programme evolved from the Social Economy Programme and at the end of August 2010 provided funding support for around 450 community companies and co-operatives.


Types of project

Access to the Programme is managed by public calls for proposals made by the Department from time to time.  Following assessment, contracts of up to three years duration are typically issued to successful community companies and co-operatives that meet the criteria for the Programme.  In general, applicants must be not-for-profit companies, possess sufficient capacity to undertake service delivery and the management of staff, have sufficient financial resources and opportunity to generate revenue to maintain the service proposed, and where necessary, prepare a business plan acceptable to the Programme.  Services generally fall within the following broad categories:

  • Community services for the elderly (excluding healthcare provision)
  • Community services which support or employ people with disabilities (excluding healthcare provision)
  • Projects, which support and employ stabilised and recovering drug misusers (excluding healthcare provision)
  • Community services or community enterprises for island communities
  • Community radio
  • Community enterprises which support and employ Travellers (excluding healthcare provision)
  • Supervising community halls and facilities with a priority focus on disadvantaged areas

Qualifying organisations


In order to qualify for funding under the Community Service Programme, organisations must operate on a not-for-profit basis. They must also recruit unemployed people to work in the projects. In general, 70% of employees in projects funded under the Programme must be from the following categories:

  • Unemployed people in receipt of Jobseeker�s Benefit, Jobseeker�s Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment
  • People in receipt of Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Blind Person�s Pension or other disability payment
  • Travellers in receipt of Jobseeker�s Benefit, Jobseeker�s Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment
  • Ex-prisoners
  • Stabilised and recovering drug misusers


Organisations may receive funding on a multi-annual basis as a contribution to salaries for management and service delivery.  In a small number of cases, funding may also be provided to support operational costs.

How to apply

Organisations interested in applying for funding should check information about this programme and other programmes managed by Pobal on the main page of its website. You can read further information about the Community Services Programme here. 

Where to apply


Holbrook House

Holles Street


Dublin 2

Country: IRELAND

Tel:+353 (0)1 240 0700

Fax:+353 (0)1 661 0411

Homepage: http://www.pobal.ie/

Email: enquiries@pobal.ie

Department of Social Protection

Teeling Street


County Sligo

Country: IRELAND

Tel:+353 71 918 6700

Fax:+353 71 910 7870

Last modified:24/09/2008

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