RAPID (Revitalising Areas Through Planning Investment & Development) is a Government initiative that targets 45 disadvantaged urban areas in the country. Sligo town has 5 designated RAPID Areas – Cranmore, Forthill Estate/Cartron Estate, Garavogue Villas/Doorly Park, St Josephs Terrace, St Bridget’s Place/Pilkington Terrace, Maugheraboy/Jinks Avenue/Tracey Avenue.
The programme is implemented locally by an AIT (Area Implementation Team) consisting of representatives from key agencies and co-ordinated by the RAPID Programme Co-ordinator (Bridie Conway) based in the Community Enterprise & Arts Department. The Programme is monitored by SIM (Social Inclusion Measures Group) at a county level and the NMC (National Monitoring Committee) chaired by Minister Eamon O’ Cuiv at the national level.
The RAPID Programme in Sligo over the past year through the work and commitment of the Area Implementation Team has ensured that investment made by Government departments, state agencies and local agencies in providing services to the designated areas has increased. Local agencies are beginning to identify and support RAPID specific projects in their service plans with evidence of increased co-ordination and integration of service delivery at a local level. Over the past year the role of the Area Implementation Team has been further strengthened as the group have taken on the task of local advisors to Government Departments in the making of funding decisions.
At a national level there is clear evidence of departments prioritising RAPID areas in the implementation of their schemes. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment report that 25% of the 25,000 programme places on CE, JI and Social Economy schemes are based in RAPID areas with RAPID areas prioritised for rollover schemes. The Department of Education and Science has prioritised RAPID areas in the establishment of Regional Offices, Education Welfare Officers, adult literacy, community, adult and further education funding via VEC’s with RAPID a criteria on the amount funded. The Special Education Council has been recently established and are examining the possibility of using RAPID as one criterion for assigning special educational needs advisors. The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government continue to prioritise RAPID areas at a national level with directives to local areas to prioritise RAPID areas as part of the estimates process. The Department are currently developing a new scheme aimed at enhancing local authority estates to improve road safety through additional street lights, ramps, and kerbing for roll out in 2005. The Sports Capital Programme continue to give priority to RAPID based projects in their scoring system for assessing proposals. The Department of Health & Children are meeting on a regular basis with AIT reps and work is happening on prioritising RAPID within service planning.
€1.6 m additional project funding acquired for RAPID Areas
The leverage fund introduced by the Department of Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs for RAPID areas acts as a top-up grant for specific projects. Under this fund Sligo received an additional €201,000 as a top-up for Sports Capital Projects. The following initiatives came about as a result of the leverage fund.
The Northside playground was refurbished by Sligo Borough Council – leverage fund €30,000 Dept Health & Children, €30,000 Sligo Borough Council.
Maugheraboy area. €20,000 Dept Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, €30,000 Sligo Borough Council
A total of 15 projects that impact on the RAPID areas were endorsed by the Area Implementation Team. Of these projects the following have received funding in 2004:
€203,000 to develop phase 1 of Cartron Recreation Area, part of a large-scale project – Cartron Foreshore Project, developed by the Parks Department Sligo Borough Council. The new recreational area will be developed as a major facility for the community on Sligo Borough lands. The proposed recreational facilities will include a promenade, pedestrian and cycleway provision, seating, lighting and paving open to all user groups and will cater for the RAPID designated areas of Cartron/Forthill.
€117,800 to assist with the Cranmore Regeneration Project to employ a Community Development Officer to work with the community to establish a Community Platform and develop a Community Development Plan as part of the regeneration process.
€129,010 to employ youth workers to develop programmes and activities for the youth in the North Ward area of Sligo town. The lead agency is the Sligo Northside Community Partnership Ltd based in the Northside Resource Centre, Forthill.
€82,246 to promote the social development of people with disabilities beyond the training centre. The project responds to a definite need identified by the trainees who found that they were not participating in the life of the community after the training centre closed.
€101,280 to put in place an innovative mentoring programme titled Big Brother Big Sister involving the assignment of a positive role model to young people 10-18 yrs experiencing various difficulties in their lives from RAPID areas. Lead agency CRIB (Foroige) Sligo.
Two projects successfully submitted for prioritisation to the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism under the Sports Capital Grant.
€500,000 towards the cost of initiating phase 1 to redevelop its indoor sports hall into a Community/School Sports Centre for Sligo’s East Ward.
€221,000 - Project developed by Sligo Borough Council – consisting of a mix of active and passive recreational facilities to include multiuse grass pitch, multipurpose play areas cycling and walking facilities.
The Department of Justice Equality & Law Reform launched the Equality for Women programme in RAPID areas inviting submissions up to a maximum of €200,000. Sligo submitted three projects for consideration – Equal IT for Women (Bridge Digital Divide), The project will develop and implement an ambitious digital inclusion initiative for women located in RAPID areas. The objective of the project is to enable marginalised women to acquire the IT skills necessary to participate in the ever-increasing information society and to benefit from the range of social and economic opportunities new technology provides. WAVES – (Women Against Violence) - Project to work with women experiencing domestic violence who reside in RAPID areas to increase their access to education, training and employment. Community Participation & Voter Education Programme developed by Sligo LEADER Partnership Company for delivery to women in RAPID areas.