• 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

 The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has recently announced 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.

Minister Humphreys also announced €5 million in funding, through the Connected Hubs 2022 Call, which will be used to build capacity and enhance existing Remote Working facilities.

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).

Minister Humphreys also revealed today that the number of Remote Working facilities on the Connected Hubs Network will exceed 200 this week. This represents over half of the 400 hubs pledged as part of Our Rural Future, the Government’s landmark rural development policy.

Announcing the series of initiatives at the Mill Enterprise Centre in Drogheda, Co Louth, Minister Humphreys 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 we have provided funding to upgrade and enhance existing hub facilities.

“These are now 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 Humphreys concluded:

Thankfully we are now beginning to return to normal life, but that does not mean we should go back to the old normal – the days of the long commute, sitting in traffic when you could be spending that time with your family and friends.

“Equally not everybody wants to or has the space to work from home permanently. The kitchen table or your bedroom is not a permanent solution. If you want a clear line of where work-life ends and family-life begins – then working from your local hub is the solution for you.

“Today, I am also 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.

“Over the coming weeks, my Department will embark on a major awareness campaign to highlight the benefits of Connected Hubs for both workers and employers”.

Connected Hubs Mobile App

The launch of the connected hubs mobile app will allow users to find their nearest hub facility and easily book a desk space using their mobile device. The Connected Hubs mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android.

€5million Connected Hubs Call 2022

The primary objective of the Connected Hubs Call 2022, which is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, is to support and complement the development of the National Hub Network, which is a key action of the Rural Development Policy – Our Rural Future and also the National Remote Working Strategy – Making Remote Work. The Connected Hubs Call 2022 aims to add additional capacity to the existing remote working infrastructure in Ireland by upgrading existing hubs and Broadband Connection Points (BCPs). This funding is in addition to €8.8million provided for 117 remote working projects across the country in 2021.

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