Kildare County Council's Aras Chill Dara headquarters
Over €1m has been invested in 700 local businesses to help them overcome the Covid pandemic, according to Kildare County Council’s annual report, which was published last Friday, July 16.
The report gives an overview of the council’s programme of work in 2020.
Some of the main highlights from the 226 page document show 1,222 housing units were provided for individuals and families across Kildare last year.
The council pointed out 86 arts grants and bursary awards were given to local artists and arts organisations while €2.1m was awarded in community grants, supporting almost 1,000 initiatives.
When the pandemic hit, the council formed the Covid-19 Community Response Forum to coordinate community supports. A dedicated helpline was developed to assist older and vulnerable people.
It also set up an appointment system for customers, in relation to housing, planning and motor tax.
Peter Carey, chief executive of the council said; “The sudden introduction and sustained implementation of restrictions on business and society from March 2020 was unprecedented, but necessary, in an effort to protect people and save lives.
“I’m proud that every department within Kildare County Council adapted their plans for 2020 to ensure the immediate and changing needs for our services were met.”
The council said that despite the closure of construction sites throughout 2020, it made good progress in housing providing 1,222 units.
Of this total, 379 were new builds, 97 were bought, 64 were leased, and 682 delivered through Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)/Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).
In addition, 529 grants were approved to adapt existing homes to meet the needs of occupants including those who are elderly or have mobility issues.
Over 60 online events were held, including live broadcasts, workshops, online exhibitions and theatre, music, literary and family events. A total of €200,000 was used to keep library services operational throughout restrictions, through online services. Pilot projects to make public spaces more people-friendly included Market Square, Kildare Town and Poplar Square, Naas.
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