Ireland has celebrated a summer of sporting success nationally and internationally, but when we look to the grassroots of our sporting heroes, we need to see how much we can do by investing in community facilities. So says Community Finance Ireland, which this week launched a new â¬ 5 million fund offering social finance solutions to sports clubs on the island of Ireland.
t over the past five years, Community Finance Ireland has supported 23 organizations in Connacht to the tune of â¬ 2.1 million.
This includes sports clubs and community groups in Sligo such as Cloonacool Community Park,
The new fund will make flexible loans of â¬ 10,000 to â¬ 500,000 available to sports organizations in Sligo looking to make a difference in their local community, whether it is renovating locker rooms or training facilities for their children. players and participants, or improve local infrastructure that makes their club grounds more accessible to the local community.
The fund was launched at an online event, “Fitness and Financial Condition is the Key to Success,” with panelists including Sinead Reel, Chairperson of the Armagh Ladies’ GAA County Council, sports reporter for the Irish Times Joanne O’Riordan and Irish Olympian Brendan Boyce training at the Finn Valley Athletics Club funded by Community Finance Ireland in Donegal.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Anne Graham, Customer Relations Manager, Community Finance Ireland, said: âOur athletes have led the way through the tracks, fields and pools, and have inspired our next generation of sporting heroes. .
âWhile this has been a summer to celebrate, it also challenged us to consider how much more we could accomplish, how much support we could provide to our aspiring Olympians or All-Stars, with a greater investment in basic facilities and clubs.
âEach community will look to their local field, climbing wall or tennis court to see where improvements can be made to upgrade equipment, develop more accessible and inclusive facilities, or perhaps to do the circuit around a lot or follow a safe public walkway for the community to stay active during the darkest winter nights by installing floodlights.
âWhenever a club sees an opportunity to invest in their local community, we want to put the power to make that change in their hands with quick, flexible and fair loans that can be used to fill gaps in their funding, unlock the withdrawal of government grants, or provide much needed project funding.
âWe work closely with sports clubs across the country, in fact they represent over a third of the organizations we work with, so we know what they need.
âWe know that volunteers and board members cannot provide personal guarantees, so we don’t ask for them; we know that funding flows can be unpredictable, so we don’t change our interest rates or impose penalties for prepayments or lump-sum payments â.
Speaking of the support received from Community Finance Ireland, Micheal Lang, secretary of the Tuar Mhic Eadaigh GAA club in County Mayo, said: âCommunity Finance Ireland has provided exceptional support to our project every step of the way.
âTheir support, professionalism and communication has been brilliant throughout the process. We highly recommend them to any group considering funding a project.