Minister Joe O’Brien welcomes €5 million Connected Hubs Fund
29th April, 2021
- Fund to support development of Ireland’s first National Hub Network
- Investment in hot-desks, office spaces and meeting rooms to promote remote working
- Electric car charging points, upgrades to disability access and IT improvements also supported
Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, has today welcomed the launch of a new five million euro fund to support the development of Ireland’s first national network of remote working hubs.
The Connected Hubs Fund will expand existing hub facilities, providing additional hot desks, office spaces and meeting rooms for remote working. The funding will be used to install electric car charging points, upgrade disability access and improve IT facilities located within hubs or Broadband Connection Points (BCPs). It will also assist in making existing hubs more compliant with social distancing guidelines.
Our Rural Future recognises hubs and BCPs as ideal locations for people to work remotely, as well as acting as key economic assets for towns and villages.
Welcoming the call for proposals for funding, Minister O’Brien said:
“Over the past 12 months, so many of us have experienced the benefits of remote working – reduced commutes, more time spent with your family, increased footfall in towns, a lower carbon footprint. As we emerge from this Pandemic, the Government is determined to make remote working a permanent reality for thousands of people.
Today’s announcement of a €5 million fund will greatly assist in developing Ireland’s first ever National Hub Network. The Connected Hubs Fund will make our existing hubs bigger and more accessible and will result in a better quality experience for business people, workers and students.
Hubs provide the perfect opportunity for people to embrace ‘blended working’, and by encouraging people to avail of a hot-desk or office space in their nearby hub, the local economy also benefits. It’s equally important however that we invest in our many existing hubs, public and private, and ensure they are attractive, fully equipped, modern office spaces for people to work from into the future.
The projects funded under this call are a first step in supporting the development of a National Network of high-quality remote working hubs. Fingal, as a growing county with a widely dispersed population, could benefit hugely from improved connected hubs, which will cut down on lengthy commutes and allow workers to spend more time in their communities and with their loved ones.”
- The Connected Hubs Call aims to add additional capacity to our current remote working infrastructure.
- The National Hub Network Working Group led by the Department of Rural and Community Development has identified over 400 remote working hubs across the country.
- Work is currently underway to map and survey the services offered by these hubs. This data will support the development of online services to support hub managers, including a publicly facing booking engine.
- Funding will be available for both expansion and upgrade of existing facilities through works such as the installation of privacy booths, access control and security systems, the conversion of existing open plan space to modular offices, and provision of enhanced audio visual, network and conferencing facilities. The call will also fund innovative measures to assist hubs to deal with COVID-related challenges.