22nd January 2021

Welcome to this edition of GCCN Network News. Below we have information on:

GCCN Network News

Info and Updates
  • National Volunteering Strategy (2021 - 2025) - read here
  • Report Calls for Drastic Reform of Planning System - read here
  • Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2021 - read here
  • Historic Structure Funding 2021  - read here
Have Your Say
  • Irish Water Extends Public Consultation of National Water Resources Plan - read here
  • Galway to Athlone Cycleway Public Consultation 2 - read here
Programmes and Initiatives

COVID-19 Related Updates

  • COVID-19 Emergency Fund: Recording of the Information Webinar - read here
  • Keep Well Booklet: Advice and Information for Older Adults Galway City - read here
  • Appeal: Stay Vigilant and Halt the Spread of COVID-19 in the Community - read here
  • Outreach to Those Travelling From Brazil - read here
  • COVID-19 Restrictions Updates - read here
  • Tánaiste Announces Remote Working Support Plans - read here
  • Survey: Covid-19 Led to Increase in Demand for Mental Health Supports - read here
  • Galway City COVID-19 Community Call Helpline - read here
  • Keep Well Campaign - read here
  • Reminder: Support for the Older People - read here
  • Galway City Community Response Map - read here

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GCCN Network News
Info and Updates

National Volunteering Strategy (2021 - 2025)

The National Volunteering Strategy (2021 - 2025) sets out a long-term vision for volunteering and volunteers in Ireland. With actions to be implemented over the next five years, the Strategy set a general direction of travel for government policy in relation to the volunteers and the volunteering environment. It also builds upon and strengthens the renewed relationship and partnership between Government and the voluntary sector which has developed during the course of its preparation.

The purpose of the Strategy is to recognise, support and promote the unique value and contribution of volunteers to Irish society. The Strategy also provides an opportunity for Government to acknowledge how important volunteering is to the well-being of the nation and to steer the delivery of an agreed and ambitious vision. The contribution of volunteering to our society has never been more prevalent than during the response in the last number of months to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been co-produced by Government and people from the community development, local development, community and voluntary, business and local government sectors. It is an ambitious strategy to support partnership and collaborative effort at all levels and between all stakeholders, comprising five high-level objectives and 56 associated actions to support communities, their representative organisations, and the community and voluntary sector.

This Strategy seeks to develop and enhance the role of the volunteer and encourage volunteering as a means of developing vibrant communities. It will provide the framework and the building blocks to realise this vision, through the implementation of the following strategic objectives.

Read the National Volunteering Strategy (2021 - 2025) in full here

Report Calls for Drastic Reform of the Planning System

A report from the Irish Homebuilders Association (IHBA) has claimed that the delivery of new housing is being held back by “unnecessary delays” within the planning system – with the majority of the application process still being manual, rather than digital, with high levels of paperwork, while underfunding at local authority level is leading to a backlog in applications.
Director James Benson has called for current design guidelines, which favour high-density development, to be revised to be more “bespoke”. The report, Planning Reform Necessary to Expedite the Delivery of Housing, calls for the greater use of outline planning permissions to define strategic design and planning issues at the start of the process in order to reduce costs, and makes a series of recommendations, including the creation of an electronic planning system and the introduction of “viability testing” to ensure equitable weighting to market requirements.
Local councils, the report adds, should produce a schedule of zoned lands to identify any barriers to delivery of homes. RTÉ notes that builders have also urged the Government not to introduce a “use it or lose it” requirement for major projects, given the increasing use of judicial reviews to challenge and delay development. The report backs planned legislation that would require costs to be paid by unsuccessful objectors, and limit who can mount legal challenges.

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Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2021
Applications Invited

Galway City Council in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government& Heritage are inviting applications for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2021. This fund is intended to encourage the investment of private capital in a number of small-scale, labour-intensive projects to repair and conserve historic structures and to support the employment of skilled and experienced conservation professionals, craft workers and tradespeople. An allocation of €92,400 has been provided for Galway City, and grants of between €2,500 and €15,000 will be awarded, with applicants required to provide a minimum of 50% of total costs.
Read more here.

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Historic Structure Funding 2021
Applications Invited

The Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage (DHLGH) is providing funding to assist with works to safeguard structures protected under the Planning & Development Act 2000 (as amended).
Funding for the historic structure fund (HSF) is being made available as part of Project Ireland 2040. The total national funding is €3m.

Galway City Council will, on receipt of qualifying applications for funding, assess and put forward a maximum of three applications (plus a maximum of an additional two specifically relating to shopfronts as per below), this restriction is as prescribed by the terms and limitations of the Department’s criteria and funding.

Grants will be awarded in three streams on a national basis.

Stream 1 will offer grants from €15,000 up to €50,000 and is aimed at essential repairs and smaller capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of heritage structures. A maximum of 80% will be awarded relative to eligible costs.
*Historic Shopfronts will be included in addition as a Pilot Project for 2021 in this stream– the purpose is to incentivise the conservation of historic shop fronts – this can be considered by as an additional application (4th) under Stream 1. Its focus is on essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic shop facades, windows, signage and other associated details to safeguard them. In addition there will also be funding specifically for the conservation of historic Irish-language shopfronts. This specific grant is jointly-funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Stream 2 will offer a small number of grants from €50,000 up to €200,000 for larger enhancement, refurbishment or reuse projects involving heritage structures, where a clear community or public benefit has been demonstrated. A maximum of 50% will be awarded relative to eligible costs.

Stream 3 will be for 2021 Pilot project for Vernacular Structures - with funding of €50,000. The purpose of the stream is to support conservation repairs and small capital works to vernacular structures that are not listed in the Records of Protected Structures or otherwise legally protected. Such structures may be located within an Architectural Conservation Area.

The categories of structures eligible for assistance under stream 1 & 2 are as follows –
1.      Protected Structures: i.e. those structures included in the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) for Galway City of which there are 619 in the city.
2.      Structures that are included in and contribute to the character of an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) of which there are eleven areas in Galway City.
Works under this scheme must meet all statutory requirements, including the need for planning permission where appropriate.

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Have Your Say

Irish Water Extends Public Consultation of the First National Water Resources Plan (NWRP) Until 1 March 2021
Have your Say

Irish Water has extended the statutory consultation period of the country’s first National Water Resources draft Framework Plan (NWRP) and associated SEA Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement (NI). Irish Water is now inviting feedback on the Plan and associated environmental documents which was published for statutory consultation on the Tuesday 8 December, until Monday 1 March 2021.
See further details here.

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Galway to Athlone Cycleway Public Consultation 2
Have your Say

The Public Consultation Round 2 for the Galway to Athlone Cycleway is now underway.

Project Vision
The vision for the project is to develop a world class trail, from Galway to Athlone, that will complete the Galway to Dublin route, which is of a scale and singularity that will allow Ireland to tap into the growing tourism market for cycling. It will be scenic, sustainable, be a strategic link, with lots to see and do, be substantially segregated from motor traffic and welcome a wide variety of users. It will be developed in co-operation with local communities and offer real benefits to them.

Progress to date
Public Consultation No. 1 was held in August 2020. The feedback received was considered to develop the Route Corridor Options. The options have been developed to connect likely tourism and leisure attractions, and use publicly owned land where possible. The options use state owned lands such as flood defense embankments, forestry tracks, bog roads and Bord na Móna railways. In order to connect the state owned lands, we have identified ‘Consultation Areas’ on privately owned lands where we would like to talk to the landowners and explore possible routes. These routes would follow existing features and farm boundaries minimising severance.

Have your say
The consultation material can be viewed online in the Virtual Consultation Room which will be live on the project website from the 25th January 2021 and run for 5 weeks. Interested parties will be able to meet with the project team by arrangement to discuss any issues of interest to them, either by phone or by video appointment. The purpose of this consultation is to examine and receive feedback on the options developed, and to assist in the process of identifying a Preferred Route Corridor.
If your property is within these areas, we would encourage you to contact us to let us know your opinion on the cycleway. We can be contacted through the online virtual consultation on the website, where you may book an appointment to talk to the project team, or by calling the Cycleway Project Office in Ballinasloe at 091 509267.
Project Liaison Officers will be available to meet by appointment, in compliance with the applicable COVID-19 protocols. 

Further information and updates on the project is available on:
You can make submissions or observations by:

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Programmes and Initiatives

Access for All Open Meeting
28th January

Access For All Galway is looking to expand its membership and will be hosting a virtual information session on the 28th of January. You are invited to join to learn about the network and hear from current members!

Access For All is a network of individuals and organisations based in Galway City working towards improving
the universal access of the local built environment and developing a disability-friendly society.

Download the flyer here.

The informal information session will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday the 28th of January via Zoom.
To register please contact Fiona on or Ysabel on

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Webinars on the Circular Economy

Featuring expert knowledge and real-life insights, the MODOS Pathways to the Circular Economy webinar series explores the practicalities of building a thriving circular economy.
The webinars will run from January 20th until February 10th 2021.
The purpose of this webinar series is to create awareness of the circular economy. The hosts will discuss opportunities, challenges and the benefits of circularity:

  • How can businesses and communities identify and exploit #circulareconomy opportunities?
  • How are Circular Hubs created?
  • What are the practical steps you can take towards making your business more circular?
For registrations and further details please see the link:

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IT Support Survey 

Based on previous feedback received in 2020, Galway Volunteer Centre are developing a service where they are hoping to find skilled IT volunteers to assist community groups in dealing with IT problems that they are facing.

Please complete the very short survey below to let Galway Volunteer Centre know what, if any challenges you are currently having. Complete Survey Here

Once Galway Volunteer Centre get a better idea of what groups need, they will start finding skilled volunteers to help.  

COVID-19 Related Updates

COVID-19 Emergency Fund (2nd Round)
Recording of the Information Webinar

Galway City Community Network is pleased to have worked with the Galway City Council and the LCDC to facilitate an information webinar on the 2nd round of COVID-19 Emergency Funding on the 18th of January 2021.


Applications are invited under the 2nd round of COVID-19 Emergency Funding within the Galway City Administrative area from community groups/organisations.
The closing date for applications is Friday, 5th February 2021 at 4.00pm.

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Keep Well Booklet
Advice and Information for Older Adults Galway City

As you may be aware HSE Community Services in Galway have joined with Galway City Council to support older people to mind their physical and mental health and wellbeing over the coming months by producing a 20-page booklet and accompanying videos. 

The Keep Well Booklet is available to view and download in English and Irish from the Galway City Council website. Hard copies are also available by request through the Community Call Helpline, 1800 400 150 or by email to  

Explaining how the campaign came about, Alma Joyce, HSE Occupational Therapist Manager said “We are concerned about the effects that the pandemic is having on older people’s health and wellbeing, which we are seeing in our clinics in the health centres and other healthcare settings. We want to provide practical advice on staying active and encourage older people to keep a routine, engage in their everyday activities, stay connected to family and not hesitate to reach out if help is needed.”  

Dr Michelle Canavan, Consultant Geriatrician at Galway University Hospital adds that she has seen the need for older people to make positive changes to their routines on a daily basis in her clinic.  She said, “Individuals need to keep moving, a short walk around the house or garden. Do something you enjoy in the morning and in the afternoon. We can all do something to actively minimise the effect that this pandemic is having on our health.

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Stay Vigilant and Halt the Spread of
COVID-19 In the Community
Joint appeal to the people of Galway 

A joint appeal from the CEs of Galway City & County Councils, Saolta/Hse and An Garda Siochana issued on Wednesday, 20th January 2021 urges the public to stay vigilant and halt the spread of the virus in the community due to a rapid increase in COVID-19 infection rates in Galway.

The three principle agencies have come together to highlight the gravity of the public health risk in Galway where there is a tenfold increase in COVID-19 daily infection rate compared to the first wave.

The people of Galway are urged to please stay vigilant and adhere to the public health measures to help bring the virus under control.

An Garda Síochána continues to conduct static and mobile checkpoints, as well as high visibility patrolling focused on non-essential travel in support of the Stay Home/Stay Safe message. Since Monday, January 11, An Garda Síochána can prosecute breaches of travel restrictions under COVID-19 Regulations by means of a €100 Fixed Payment Notice.

Read the full press release at the link below:


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Outreach to those travelling from Brazil
Please find information below from the Department of the Taoiseach in relation to getting a message to those who have recently travelled from Brazil.

You will be aware of the newly reported Brazilian variant of COVID.
By way of maximising the communication with people who may have travelled from Brazil in recent weeks, we are requesting Departments to reach out to their agencies and other organisations with which their sectors interact, including through local channels, to facilitate the following information reaching (and, as far as possible, being acted on by) the intended audience:
  • All passengers who have arrived from Brazil in January are requested to come forward for a COVID-19 PCR test.  This test can be obtained by going to a GP and seeking a referral.  GPs have been alerted and will facilitate this without any charge.
  • These travellers are also strongly advised to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival.
  • The HSE’s contracted isolation facility at the Citywest Hotel complex is available to those who are unable to self-isolate in their own homes for any reason and is an option for people from Brazil in this situation.
We ask you to consider, though not limited to, any areas where Brazilian populations are known to be working or living and any national agencies including those involved in the Regulators Forum.
This is to supplement the existing communications through Health.
Summary wording, which may be used on social or other media:
Se você chegou de viagem recentemente do Brasil,  aconselhamos que você se isole pelos seus primeiros 14 dias na Irlanda. Por gentileza, ligue para um clínico geral para agendar um teste de covid-19 de graça. Isso deve ser feito o quanto antes, 5 dias após a sua chegada. Por favor, acesse para ver detalhes de contatos de Clínicos gerais na sua área.

If you have recently travelled from Brazil, you are advised to self-isolate for your first 14 days in Ireland. Also, please  call a GP to arrange a free COVID-19 test. This should be done as soon as possible after 5 days post arrival. Please check  for contact details of doctors in your area.

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COVID-19 Restrictions Updates

Coronavirus restrictions could stay throughout 2021

Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer at the HSE, has said that some form of COVID-19 restrictions may need to stay in place for at least the rest of 2021 as the vaccination programme progresses. Speaking to Máirín Ní Ghadhra on Raidió na Gaeltachta, he said: “The answer, and not everyone likes it but it’s the truth… is that the public in general won’t have protection from COVID-19 for at least a year… In the meantime, it’s more important than ever to abide by the public health guidance so that we can stop the spread of the virus.” “We’re in the middle of the main wave now… and we can see the damage that has been wrought. The vaccine is coming, and we’ll come out of this if we can stick to the public health guidelines until everyone has been vaccinated”, he added. Elsewhere, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said the hospital system is “completely tightening up”, and has “formally gone into surge capacity”.

Hospitality industry could stay closed until summer

A senior government source has told the Irish Independent that it is “50-50” as to whether restrictions on schools and the construction sector are lifted in February, as Ireland faces its longest lockdown to date. The Government has privately warned that bars, restaurants and hotels might not be able to reopen until the summer, the paper says, while tourism from overseas is being ruled out for the rest of the year. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar reportedly warned a meeting of hospitality industry representatives on Friday that the “virus keeps ripping up our plans”, and that he was unable to give a clear timeline for reopening the sector. The Cabinet is to look again at restrictions on schools and construction sites in two weeks, with those discussions likely to be based on case numbers, ICU numbers, and the progress of vaccinations.

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Tánaiste Announces Remote Working Support Plans
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has announced new proposals, to form part of the October budget, to encourage remote working. Under the plans, employees will be given the legal right to request permission to work from home, and employers who reject those requests will be required to fully explain their reasoning.
A legally admissible code of practice on the right to disconnect from work is also proposed, along with investment in remote work hubs in areas convenient for commuters and childcare facilities. The plan also includes a commitment to allow 20% of public sector employees to work remotely, and provisions for accelerating the National Broadband Plan, while Mr Varadkar has also said he will seek to review the treatment of remote working in terms of tax and expenditure in the next Budget.
There are hundreds of thousands of people now working from home for almost for a year now”, he said, “and when the pandemic ends, and it will end, we want to make the choice to work from home, the choice to work remotely easier.

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Survey Finds Covid-19 Has Led to An Increase In Demand For Mental Health Supports In the Community

Family Resource Centres are responding to a significant increase in demand for mental health supports during Covid-19. That’s according to a survey on Family Resource Centre staff and volunteers, conducted by the National FRC Mental Health Promotion Project. The survey is a study of all Family Resource Centre staff, volunteers, and board members undertaken to identify trends in community demand for mental health supports and the well-being and professional development of Family Resource Centre staff, volunteers and board members.
Read more at the link:

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Important Reminders


The Galway City Community Call Helpline
New Flyer Graphics
The helpline is open to anyone who needs it, seven days a week.
If you need support or help to get access to shopping, food, medication or if you feel isolated or lonely and need someone to talk to, please get in touch at:
☎️ 1800 400 150

Keep Well Campaign
The Keep Well campaign provides guidelines, information, and tips on how we can add healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines around five simple actions: keeping active, keeping in contact, switching off and getting creative, eating well and minding your mood
Support for the Older People This Winter
With the winter months approaching, we would like to share once again some of the main helplines for older people to access, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 alert.
  • Galway City COVID-19 Community Call Helpline: 1800 400 150
  • COPE Galway Helpline: 085  87 67 785
  • Alone Helpline: 0818 222 024
  • Senior Line: 1800 804 591
We highly encourage you to share these numbers with any older person you know.
Galway City Community Response Map

As part of the ongoing work of the Galway City Community Response Forum, Galway City Community Network and Galway City Council have developed a map of the COVID-19 related responses, activities and services available to people in Galway City.

The map is publicly available and can be used as a useful information resource both for individuals made vulnerable by COVID-19 and by organisations or agencies that need to know where they may refer their clients to for support.

The map is online at the following links:
Further details are available on the GCCN Website.


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