New 3.75m community Graffiti Reduction Programme launched


The Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D. - along with his colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, Mr. John Gormley T.D. - have launched the Community Graffiti Reduction Programme - a new national programme to support local communities to combat graffiti.

Under this programme, a broad approach is being taken to tackle graffiti and funding will be available for a wide range of initiatives to assist local communities to remove graffiti and to carry out activities which can assist in the long-term reduction in incidence of graffiti in their areas.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Lenihan said - "This scheme was structured in such a way that it will facilitate communities taking the broadest approach to tackling graffiti in their areas, in the way they feel will work best. Pobal is best placed to administer the scheme as is has demonstrated a high degree of commitment to supporting communities in their work to overcome disadvantage and to ensuring that communities get best value from the funding available to them."

Minister Gormley welcomed the new cross-departmental initiative and said that he is fully aware of the major blight on communities, which graffiti vandals cause. The Minister said - "I encourage local groups to apply for funding under this new graffiti reduction programme, which seeks to deal with graffiti both in the short-term - through cleansing and support for businesses - and in the long-term - by changing peoples' behaviour through education and raising awareness."

A budget of €3.75 million is available for the programme during 2008. The first set of funds to be allocated will be ring-fenced to RAPID (Revitalising Areas through Planning, Investment and Development) communities, which are disadvantaged areas prioritised by Government for a range of funding opportunities. Application forms will be sent to RAPID areas later this month.

Minister Lenihan added - "Graffiti is, at best, an irritant and at worst outright vandalism. It is regrettably found across a broad range of areas." Minister Gormley, agreeing that the proliferation of graffiti in certain areas was deplorable, said - "The appearance of a community is a key feature in encouraging social and economic activity and in identifying it as a desirable place to live, work and do business in. First impressions do count and an ongoing cooperative effort is required between the towns-people, the business community and local groups - such as the RAPID teams and the local authorities - to ensure that the town is well presented."

The Programme, which is supported by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, will be managed, co-ordinated and delivered through Pobal.

The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform has worked with Pobal for a number of years on the delivery of a range of successful programmes to benefit communities - including the Community CCTV programme, the Enhancing Disabilities Services Project and the Equality for Women Measures.

All areas of the country are eligible to apply for subsequent sets of funds, with applications being accepted from May 2008. Application forms will be issued in March.

The Community Graffiti Reduction Programme is a new national initiative following on from a pilot project carried out by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It aims -

  • To support an immediate reduction in the extent and impact of graffiti within the communities who participate in the programme;
  • To develop local mechanisms within these communities to support the long-term reduction of incidences of graffiti.

In 2008, up to €3.75 million is being made available to fund projects. Local groups (including tidy towns groups) or consortia of groups and state agencies - with at least three years experience of working on environmental and community safety issues - are eligible to apply for funding.

The programme will fund the following range of activities -

  • Graffiti removal - Practical identification and removal of any graffiti within a public space, or on private property which is visible from a public space.
  • Identification of improved landscape design. This will include work with Local Authorities, businesses or others to identify methods to reduce the targeting of individual sites for graffiti and the impact of graffiti on these sites by the improvement of planting, fencing and other arrangements.
  • Targeted initiatives (including training initiatives) to work with young adult offenders or young adults at risk to include them in anti-graffiti activities.
  • Educational initiatives on graffiti with broad groups of young people within the targeted area.
    This may include work with youth groups, sporting groups, clubs, schools, etc. to educate children on the effects and impact of graffiti on the quality of life of local communities, initiatives to change young people's perceptions of graffiti, or work to broaden the understanding of young people of graffiti as an issue of environmental degradation.
  • Supporting businesses in self-help to stop or remove graffiti. As part of a wider initiative, funds can be made available to supply business with graffiti cleaning kits, or to offer advice and support on preventative anti-graffiti measures.
  • Community arts projects to divert young people from destructive graffiti. These can include collaborative work with groups of children and young people on arts projects and on the creation of outdoor and publicly visible arts projects, which offer outlets for artistic creation without the negative effects of graffiti.

Funding Phases and Mechanisms
Funding will be allocated in two phases. The first phase, Scheme A, will be confined to RAPID (Revitalising Areas through Planning, Investment and Development) areas only. The second phase, Scheme B, will be available nationally.

Under Scheme A, eligible groups may access an immediate budget (€30,000) to begin graffiti removal activities. This will be followed by the national Scheme B which will support longer-term and more varied actions to reduce and control graffiti. Under scheme B, grants of between €50,000 and €150,000 are available. Scheme B will commence in May 2008.