Community Services Programme

What is the Community Services Programme

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports community-based organisations to provide local services and create employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups and people, such as people with disabilities, Travellers, recovering drug misusers, ex-prisoners, and long- term unemployed.

It gives financial support to community companies and co-operatives to help with the cost of hiring staff.

The programme focuses on communities where public and private sector services are lacking, either through geographical or social isolation or because of low levels of demand.

The Community Services Programme is managed by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Types of projects funded

Applicants must be not-for-profit social enterprises or community businesses that can deliver services and manage staff.

They must also have enough financial resources and the ability to generate adequate revenue and prepare a business plan.

The programme has 3 parts:

Sub-Programme 1 - Spaces and services: support organisations that support the community to increase inclusiveness and reduce disadvantage by using community spaces better or offering services to the local area (or both).

Sub-Programme 2 - Supporting individuals: support organisations that create jobs for specific groups and areas with high unemployment. Organisations will focus on:

  • Helping individuals progress in their careers
  • Offering skill development and training
  • Connecting with local supports

Sub-Programme 3 - Innovation and Growth: supports social enterprises to grow faster, become self-sufficient and promote new solutions to local problems, such as climate change or the green economy.

Organisations that qualify

The CSP supports social enterprises or community businesses providing local social, economic, and environmental services through a social enterprise model.

To qualify, organisations must operate on a not-for-profit basis. They must also recruit unemployed people to work on the projects. In general, 70% of employees funded under the programme must be from the following groups:

  • Unemployed people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment
  • People in receipt of Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Blind Person’s Pension or other disability payment
  • Travellers
  • Ex-prisoners
  • Stabilised and recovering drug misusers
  • People employed by Tús, Community Employment (CE), Job Initiative schemes, as well as Rural Social Scheme workers who are former CE participants
  • Migrants
  • Refugees
  • Asylum seekers
  • Roma
  • People who are deserted, separated, divorced, or widowed
  • Carers who want to return to work
  • People who are homeless
  • Ukrainians displaced by the war

Funding available

Funding is provided to community organisations to help with the cost of hiring an agreed number of workers and a manager.

Annual rates of funding are calculated for each organisation and can be between €19,033 to €23,033 per employee and €32,000 to €36,000 per manager.

You can get more information about funding for local community staff.

Information about the Community Services Programme is available on the Pobal website and on

How to apply

Social enterprises interested in joining CSP can download an expression of interest form from the Department of Rural and Community Development and send it to

More information

You can get more information on the CSP (pdf) and how to apply on the Pobal website.


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Page edited: 17 October 2023