Minister Joe O’Brien welcomes series of major initiatives to support Remote Working

21st February, 2022

  • Workers can now book desk space in their local hub via new Mobile App
  • 200 hubs on connected hubs network – making Remote Working a reality for thousands
  • National Awareness Campaign launched to promote the benefits of working from a Hub in your community
  • €5 million Connected Hubs Fund to enhance Remote Working facilities

 

Minister Joe O’Brien, TD has welcomed his Department’s announcement of a number of major new initiatives that will support Remote Working across the country.

For the first time, workers will now be able to book office or desk space in their local hub through a new mobile app called Connected Hubs.

Hubs like M-Space Malahide and The View also in Malahide at The Marina Village, are invaluable spaces offering coworking and connected flexible office spaces for those who may not have the space at home to create an office nook.

Minister O’Brien also welcomed €5 million in funding, through the Connected Hubs 2022 Call, which will be used to build capacity and enhance existing Remote Working facilities.  He is urging owners, operators and managers of existing remote working facilities and Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) in Dublin Fingal to avail of the opportunity to identify and develop their own solutions in consultation with local authorities, local business interests (e.g. Chambers of Commerce), Town Teams (or similar bodies) and community groups as appropriate.

These initiatives will be underpinned by a major new National Awareness Campaign, designed to promote the many benefits of choosing your local hub for your working day.  The Awareness Campaign will be run by the Department of Rural and Community Development with the support of the Western Development Commission (WDC).   This week, the number of Remote Working facilities on the Connected Hubs Network will exceed 200. This represents over half of the 400 hubs pledged as part of Our Rural Future, the Government’s landmark rural development policy.

Commenting on the series of initiatives Minister O’Brien said:

“If COVID-19 has taught us one thing – it’s that the benefits of Remote Working are huge.

“Less time spent commuting. A lower carbon footprint. More time spent with family and friends. But above all – a better quality of life.

“Over the past two years, we have embarked on a mission never seen before. My Department has invested €100million in the development of remote working facilities in our towns and villages nationwide.

“Across Ireland, we have taken many old and derelict buildings and re-purposed them into state-of-the-art Remote Working facilities.

“Former banks, cinemas, garda stations, convents and train stations have become local digital hubs.

“In addition, funding is being provided to upgrade and enhance existing hub facilities.  In that context there are a number of areas in Dublin Fingal currently awaiting a hub facility and I would urge participation in the concept to identify and develop solutions by applying for funding through the Connected Hubs 2022 Call.

 

“These will form part of a new network called ‘Connected Hubs’ – which is at the forefront of our efforts to make Remote Working a reality for tens of thousands of workers.

Minister O’Brien added: 

“Through this announcement today we are specifically encouraging employers and businesses to look at the facilities available through Connected Hubs when developing their future plans for blended or hybrid working. These hubs can enable your staff to work in a safe, secure environment with high-speed broadband and all the necessary office equipment available to them.”

– ENDS –

Notes to Editor:

Details of the Connected Hubs 2022 Call are available at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/16b47-connected-hubs-fund/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/en/service/c5849b-rural-funding/?section=connected-hubs-fund

Applicants are asked to register their intention/expression of interest to apply to this scheme by Friday 4 March 2022 – this should be done via email to: connectedhubs@drcd.gov.ie. Emails should contain the subject line ‘EOI: Connected Hubs 2022 Call’.

Applications relating to single-hub projects should be made using Form 1 together with the required appendices and are subject to a maximum limit of €75,000 (and a minimum funding threshold of €10,000).

Applications for projects dealing with multiple hubs/BCPs should be grouped as a multi-hub application where possible and appropriate. Multi-hub applications must include a minimum of three hubs/BCPs and a maximum of five hubs/BCPs. Applications for such multi-hub projects should be made using Form 2 together with the required appendices.