Northern & Western Regional Assembly launches new €120m fund to renovate derelict buildings in town centres

  • THRIVE scheme offers local authorities up to €7m to renovate disused heritage buildings in cities, regional growth centres and key towns
  • Initiative has potential to transform town centres across the Northern and Western region

A new funding scheme is to provide €120m to support local authorities and their citizens to re-imagine town centres and to transform publicly owned vacant or derelict heritage buildings through renovation, renewal, and adaptive reuse. THRIVE – the Town Centre First Heritage Revival Scheme – comes under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the Northern and Western Region and will provide local authorities with funding of between €2m and €7m to refurbish disused heritage buildings in their areas.

To qualify for a THRIVE grant to renovate a heritage building, local authorities must own the building and have first engaged in public consultation to establish how residents would like to see the building renewed.

The scheme was launched by Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Kieran O’Donnell TD. THRIVE has been co-designed by the Regional Assemblies and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to address European, national and regional policy objectives. THRIVE is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.

Heritage buildings under the scheme are classified as structures that form part of the architectural heritage and have unique architectural, historical, archaeological or artistic qualities, or are linked to the cultural and economic history of a place.

Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell said: “I welcome the launch of the new €120m THRIVE Scheme under the ERDF Regional Programmes.  This is an exciting scheme that will breathe new life into towns and urban centres across Ireland, so that they can function as the sustainable and vibrant heart of the communities they serve. At the heart of this is the Government’s ‘Town Centre Firstapproach. This ensures that local authorities engage with their citizens to develop plans, select suitable projects, and identify sustainable and viable end uses for underutilised heritage buildings. I look forward to seeing the transformative impact in these centres and the benefits this will have in driving regeneration in the years ahead.”   

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said: “This announcement demonstrates the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s commitment to heritage-led generation and tackling vacancy as part of the delivery of Town Centre First policy. The funding will support local authorities not only in preserving and protecting our valuable built heritage, but also by ensuring the long-term sustainable re-use of these buildings and helping us meet our climate change targets”.

Cathaoirleach of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr John Naughten said: “I believe that THRIVE will go a long way towards kickstarting development in our region by turning our town centres into attractive spaces for people to live and work and visit.  THRIVE will promote a citizen-centred and community-led approach to planning and design while also preserving the unique cultural significance of our heritage buildings.”

Projects are required to embrace the core values of the New European Bauhaus – sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion. The scheme promotes a citizen-centred community-led approach to planning, design and project selection under the Town Centre First framework. Grants of between €40,000 and €200,000 are available to support local authorities with the planning and design phase.

THRIVE is targeted at larger urban settlements – cities, regional growth centres and key towns – and is designed to complement other national funds targeting smaller urban settlements. It is a competitive funding call and with 100% grant aid available, is expected to be highly competitive.

The THRIVE scheme is managed by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly and is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union. The first call is now open and published  here: