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Craggaunowen, just one of Clare's many heritage sites

Clare heritage projects urged to avail of funding opportunity

THE heritage sector has experienced “increased pressure” with closures, job losses and falling visitor numbers resulting from Covid-19, according to Clare County Council’s heritage officer. Congella McGuire was speaking as she encouraged Clare heritage projects to avail of a funding opportunity being made available by the government.
The Heritage Council is inviting applications from County Clare to its Community Heritage Grant Scheme as part of the Rebuilding Heritage: Covid-19 Stimulus Fund for the heritage sector, announced by the Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD.
The aims of the grant scheme are to support capital projects that improve access and inclusion at heritage sites and that apply good heritage practice to the management of places, collections, objects and buildings. The scheme also supports the purchase of essential equipment.
Congella McGuire, Heritage Officer, Clare County Council, said, “Like other sectors of society, the heritage sector has faced closures and job losses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some heritage sites have seen increased pressure from reduced visitor numbers and many organisations have been busy developing new online content for those engaged in home schooling or who have been cocooning.
“Thus, the Heritage Council’s Community Heritage Grant Scheme as part of the Government’s stimulus package is a welcome announcement. In the early days of the pandemic in particular, people found a new appreciation for their heritage and explored and engaged with their natural, built and cultural heritage like never before, all of which helped greatly with our mental health and well-being.”
In the region of €550,000 will be made available nationally, which “will go some way in providing much-needed support for heritage initiatives,” Ms McGuire added.
Eligible projects under the scheme include projects relating to access and inclusion, community-led surveys and local heritage audits that will inform future management of sites, conservation reports and plans, conservation works, habitat or species conservation plans and the purchase of specialised equipment or items that support conservation of or improve access to heritage.
The scheme is open to voluntary and community groups, heritage-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs), not-for-profit heritage organisations, Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) participants and Adopt a Monument Programme participants (supported by funding from National Monuments Service). Only projects that can be commenced after an offer date at the end of September and completed before November, 23 2020, can be considered under this scheme.
Applications must be submitted through the Heritage Council’s online grant system on or before Tuesday,September 15, 2020, at 5pm (www.heritagecouncil.ie/funding/on-line-grants-system).

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