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This programme is not open for new applications
The Community Services Programme (CSP) gives grants to community businesses that deliver services and create employment for people from disadvantaged groups. Funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and managed by Pobal, it supports circa 400 community companies and co-operatives.
The CSP works in communities where public and private-sector services are lacking, for example through geographical or social isolation, or because of demand deficits (i.e. where demands not being met by existing services).
It also aims to ensure that the benefits from public investment in community amenities are fully realised. One example of this is where additional CSP funding could enable an existing service to operate for longer hours.
Companies and co-operatives under contract with this programme must be not-for-profits, social enterprises or community businesses.
The CSP works on a social-enterprise model. This means that it does not fully fund contract holders (i.e. grant recipients), but requires that they generate revenue by charging fees or raising funds.  These enterprises remain responsible for their own budgets and financial and other liabilities.
Pobal's Role
    The Department of Rural and Community Development  is responsible for setting CSP policy, as well as for securing annual funding. The Department sets the application criteria for proposals and is advised by Pobal on contract approvals, renewals and variations. While Pobal assesses all applications, final decisions rest with the Minister for Rural and Community Development.
    Pobal’s responsibilities in the CSP include:
    • Helping with programme planning and design
    • Assisting with the management and appraisal of applications, business plans and developments
    • Negotiating contractual terms with beneficiaries
    • Reviewing contracts, including compliance by beneficiaries and the delivery of services in line with agreed objectives
    • Dealing appropriately with incidents of fraud or mis-use of funding by beneficiaries
    • Providing training in corporate governance, business planning, management and financial systems, and employment law
    • Decommital and recovery of funds (i.e. taking back funds if the beneficiaries do not comply with the terms of their contract with Pobal)
    • Reviewing the compliance and performance of beneficiaries.