The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced €21.5 million for 27 landmark regeneration projects in rural communities across the country.
Waterford City and County Council is delighted to have been successful with its most recent application under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) for the provision of Digital Transformation Hubs in Dungarvan Town.
With a number of projects approved for funding involving the re-purposing of old, derelict and historical buildings into modern-day remote working hubs, as well as enterprise, cultural and community facilities, the funding of €1.4m will provide three digital hubs in Dungarvan.
Overall, the Dungarvan Digital Transformation Hubs (DDTH) will provide remote working facilities in the town centre for a wide range of enterprises and people across the region, including connectivity for rural dwellers and realise capacity for 190 people working in Dungarvan town centre.
It will also help provide digital knowledge, skills and innovation programmes, supports and services, along with connectivity to major Research & Innovation and Knowledge Creation centres, such as Waterford Institute of Technology, University College Cork and The Irish Manufacturing Research Centre.
Through outreach to all enterprises in Dungarvan, its environs, and rural villages, towns and communities in West Waterford, DDTH will help ‘de-mystify’ the digital conversation and journey. DDTH will also provide essential training facilities enabling up-skilling through various training programmes, while a Digital Incubator Programme will assist established enterprises or start-ups deliver a Proof of Concept (POC).
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Kelly welcomed the announcement saying that the hubs will harness the digital transformation of Dungarvan and the surrounding areas. “This flagship project has the commitment, backing and drive to keep Dungarvan at the forefront of transformative change, research and innovation.”
“These facilities will not only help retain local talent, they will also attract talent from outside the area and help make Dungarvan an even better place to live, work and invest in.”
Kieran Kehoe, Director of Services, Waterford City and County Council and project manager confirmed, “The overall ambition of this project is to retain and grow talent within the west Waterford area, provide a regional base for former commuters travelling to Cork, Waterford and beyond, and attract new start-ups from within the community or from wider afield, and support economic development.”
“These proposed facilities are a key component of our emerging Dungarvan 2040 development strategy and will provide affordable office space with access to high-speed broadband, reception and meeting room services. The creation of this new Digital Knowledge Hub fully accords with the Dept of Rural & Community Development’s ‘Town Centre First’ and ‘Our Rural Future’ strategy documents and we look forward to working with Minister Humphries and her department on bringing this project to fruition.”
The funding announcement of €1.4m is the culmination of collaborative work between Waterford City and County Council, Jenny Beresford and West Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Richie Walsh and Local Enterprise Office Waterford, Colin Byrne of TOTEM Meaningful Branding, Denis Herlihy, Dungarvan Enterprise Centre, WIT, UCC and Brian Quinn, specialist digital / technical advisor from Second Edge Technology Solutions Ltd.