The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD, today announced the first tranche of successful applications to the €20 million Strengthening Disability Services Fund.

Announced as part of Budget 2021, the one-off grants are being provided to reform disability services, build the capacity of disability organisations and to improve the quality of life of those who rely on these services.

 Minister Rabbitte commented:

There have been a vast array of applications made by disability services across the country, with the aim of improving services in a real and tangible way. We sought projects that help further embed a culture of person-centred practice, which is key to how disability services operate.

In this first cycle of funding, projects approved include improvements to premises, such as additional recreational spaces, therapeutic spaces and sensory gardens, as well as the purchase of assistive technologies, tablet devices and other computers for service users, and the provision of broadband to disability premises. Grants have also been provided for building upgrades and refurbishments, updated fire safety measures and much needed upgrades to IT systems and staff training.

 And she continued:

The Strengthening Disability Services Fund is on top of the additional €100 million delivered in Budget 2021 and highlights this government’s commitment to enhance supports for people with disabilities. These grants will further bolster our voluntary disability service providers and help them meet the challenges they may face in delivering services. Further grants are being assessed at present and will be announced later in the month.

 Minister Rabbitte concluded:

Disability services have continued to operate during the current Level 5 restrictions, and this is credit to the staff and service providers. We saw the impact the closure of Day Services had last year but we’ve collectively worked together to keep them open, ensuring support for service users and their families, while all the while operating safely within public health guidance. This funding will help improve services being offered during these difficult times.

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