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Community Finance Ireland has announced a range of supports available to sports clubs in Kilkenny who are applying for grants under the Government’s Sports Capital and Equipment Programme.
Community Finance Ireland provides support and investment to communities through cost-effective, unsecured loans specifically tailored for the community sector, including sports clubs, which often rely on multiple strands of financial support.
Between 2017 and 2020, the organisation financed 127 loans to the value of €8.4million for 77 different sports organisations, including Kilkenny Storm Inline and Ice Hockey Club in Kilkenny, which was previously awarded Sports Capital Grand funding.
The application deadline for the 2021 scheme is the March 1 with rollout of funds expected sometime later in the year. CEO of Community Finance Ireland, Dónal Traynor, says they can provide immediate supports for organisations who cannot afford to wait.
“After a difficult year, many sports clubs and organisations have seen their cashflow reserves and fundraising abilities severely stretched or depleted, and the Sports Capital Grant will be a welcome kick start to the next infrastructural project and the communities they serve," he said.
“However, we know that this fund is likely to be hugely oversubscribed – applications for the €40 million fund in 2018 totalled over €162 million – and it can take a considerable time for applications to be processed, approved and funds disbursed. For grassroots organisations and sporting bodies who have had so much put on hold for almost a year, financial supports for the next phase of development are likely to come as part of a funding package, rather than from a single source.
“The flexible and tailored approach that we take at Community Finance Ireland means that we can provide financial solutions to bridge the gap between what organisations apply for / are awarded in grant funds and the total amount required to get their projects across the line. If they find that only a fraction of their grant application is approved, they know they can turn to us to find the right solution for the remainder, whether they need to refurbish their sports hall or make their floodlights more energy efficient.”
Community Finance Ireland has worked with a wide variety of community sports organisations across the island of Ireland, such as boxing, athletics clubs, angling groups and adventure sports centres, many of which are typically run by volunteers.
Paul Cummins, coach at Kilkenny Storm Inline and Ice Hockey Club, worked with Community Finance Ireland, to secure the funds needed to complete a portal multipurpose rink safety board. The club are currently in the process of building the first portal multipurpose rink safety board in Ireland. The new rink will ensure the club’s 80 members can play wherever it is set up.
“Like many other clubs across the country, we’re looking to the vaccine rollout and the reopening of wider society and we’re looking forward. For those clubs which want to be ready to hit the ground running with refurbishments or new equipment, a conversation with Community Finance Ireland can get you off the starting line," they said.
Mr Traynor, who has played GAA and soccer since childhood, said clubs like Kilkenny Storm Inline and Ice Hockey Club, will play a crucial role in bringing communities back together when Covid-19 restrictions allow.
“The benefits of sport and exercise to physical and mental wellbeing have been highlighted throughout this difficult time. For many, sports clubs and exercise groups are at the heart of our communities and the highlight of our weeks because of the community spirit and sense of togetherness that they provide. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to that and at Community Finance Ireland, we’re ready to help make it happen," he said.
For more information visit www.communityfinanceireland. com.