February 9th, 2024
Carlow and Kilkenny are set to benefit from a new funding scheme to support the renovation of disused heritage buildings. The ‘THRIVE’ scheme, launched yesterday by my colleague Minister Kieran O'Donnell, will offer local authorities up to €7 million to renovate disused heritage buildings, supporting the government’s Town Centre First policy and giving people the opportunity to re-imagine their town centres and transform publicly owned vacant or derelict heritage buildings. I'm delighted to see that Kilkenny city and Graiguecullen in Carlow have both been designated as ‘Key Towns’ under the €120 million initiative.
While this is fantastic news for Kilkenny and for Graiguecullen, as Minister for Heritage I want to welcome more broadly this new initiative which has real potential to revitalise our town centres. So many of our key regional towns and cities have heritage buildings with huge untapped potential to be brought back into use through renovation, renewal, or adaptive reuse. This Town Centre First Heritage Revival Scheme will help unlock that potential and breathe new life into these old buildings, with the fresh perspective of addressing the contemporary needs of our cities and communities.
Following the government’s Town Centre First policy, this scheme will promote a citizen-centred and community-led approach to regeneration. Local authorities will engage with citizens to select suitable projects, develop plans, and adapt or reuse vacant and derelict heritage buildings to create beautiful, sustainable and inclusive spaces that improve the quality of our town centres and the lives of our citizens.
Creating new community hubs while preserving the unique cultural significance of the heritage buildings which have been part of the fabric of our town- and city-scapes for generations offers a uniquely exciting opportunity, and I would urge everyone in Kilkenny city and Graiguecullen to get involved. I look forward to seeing the transformative impact this scheme will have in driving heritage-led regeneration in the years ahead, and to seeing Kilkenny County Council and Carlow County work with local communities to develop their plans.