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– Community Finance Ireland delivers €1.4 million of support in Louth since 2016 –

“This is a much-needed space that young people in Carlingford have asked for and which they can make their own while also feeling feel safe and supported.” That is according to the team at Carlingford Community Development Ltd (CCDL) who recently opened a new Youth Hub and Café in the Foy Centre, which was supported by a bridging loan from Community Finance Ireland (CFI). 

Established in 2002, the CCDL manages the Foy Community Centre, a multi-purpose community space, at Dundalk Street, Carlingford. Through consultations with young people in the local community, CCDL took action to address a rise in anti-social behaviour in the local community, by converting an existing vacant café within the Foy Centre into a dedicated Youth Hub.

Erin Finegan joined the CCDL in 2020 as a Youth Volunteer, working to improve community initiatives for young people in the area.  She said:

“The Carlingford Community Development team has been at the heart of Carlingford’s community sector for twenty years and we’re delighted to create a dedicated space for young people here in the Foy Centre. We’ve run some really successful initiatives with young people in the area over the past year and the feedback they shared was that they needed a space of their own to meet and socialise and feel connected. We knew we could make that possible for them with the right financial support.

On foot of Louth Leader Grant Aid we approached Community Finance Ireland and they could not have been more straight-forward and the team were so easy to work with. Once the paperwork was submitted, we could access the funds within 2-3 weeks which meant we could get started with work on the café straight away.”

Community Finance Ireland Carlingford Community Centre
Photographed at The Carlingford Community Development Centre, Co. Louth are (L to R): Colm Prendergast Client Executive (CFI), David Savage Chairperson and Mrs Erin Finegan Youth Volunteer.

Community Finance Ireland provides social finance loans to community and volunteer-led organisations that drive social impact through sport, community projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises. Operating a model similar to traditional credit unions, all loan repayments go toward supporting other communities across Ireland. To support CCDL’s refurbishments, Community Finance Ireland provided a bridging loan of €20,400.

Colm Prendergast, CFI Client Relationship Executive for North Leinster said:

“It has been a pleasure to work with the CCDL team and we’re delighted to see how the newly established Youth Café has transformed the local community’s relationship with its young people. The café has already hosted several different initiatives including a Women’s Aid outreach programme and English lessons for Ukrainian refugees. In the evening time, the café is a safe space for local young people to meet and socialise while being supervised and supported.

Supporting Communities in Louth

Between 2016 and 2022, Community Finance Ireland delivered €16.2 million in social finance supports to volunteer and community-led organisations in Leinster, including €1.39 million in support of projects in Louth.

Based on a Social Value analysis undertaken by the Rural Community Network in Northern Ireland, CFI has established that has established that its funding solution delivers a return on investment that creates a multiplier effect of 3.42 times the initial investment through wider social benefits such as improved community health and increased employment opportunities and skill levels.

A total of €33.5m million has been allocated to organisation and sports clubs organisations across Ireland between 2016 and 2022.

If you want to unlock a grant award or have a community idea that needs finance get in touch with a team member near you.

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– Community Finance Ireland delivers €7 million of support in Munster region since 2016-

A new community garden and café will open its doors at Killaloe Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre following major renovations. The renovations have been completed in time for the centre to celebrate its 20th anniversary in early July, thanks to support from Community Finance Ireland (CFI).

Well established in the local community since its foundation in 2003, the Family Resource Centre moved into the former Garda Barracks on The Green in 2017.

With the support of Community Finance Ireland, refurbishments were undertaken to make the building fully accessible; to upgrade toilet facilities; repurpose outbuildings; and to landscape the rear of the building into a community garden. The outbuildings now accommodate a training kitchen and café which will be open to the public in Autumn 2023.

Providing training and education, information services and tailored supports for young people, elderly people, parents, refugees and those with disabilities, the Family Resource Centre also offers rooms for hire to local community organistions, including the newly established training kitchen.

Kees Duson, Manager of Killaloe Ballina Family Resource Centre, said:

“When we first opened our doors in 2003, we were based in a small residential apartment, which we outgrew very quickly. We spent the next decade located in a commercial premises on Main Street in Killaloe, which, while it gave us fantastic footfall and helped many people in the community to discover our services and supports, the steep hill meant it was difficult for older people in our community and for those with mobility issues to access.

When we agreed a long-term lease with the Office of Public Works for this building, we knew we’d found a home for the community that was full of potential. This is a very old building and it had been empty for four or five years before we took it over so it needed a lot of work to address wear and tear and damp and bring it up to standard on accessibility and energy ratings. There weren’t many options for community groups seeking funding around that time so we were delighted to discover Community Finance Ireland’s tailored supports for volunteer and community-led organisations. It was exactly what we were looking for.”

Killaloe Ballina FRC Community Finance Ireland Community Loans
Pictured at Killaloe Ballina Family Resource Centre’s new premises in Co. Clare: Gillian Costelloe, Chairperson; Bróna Moriarty; Nora Keogh, Client Relationship Manager for Munster at Community Finance Ireland; Linda Stainsby; Marie Moroney and Kees Duson, Killaloe Ballina FRC Manager.

Nora Keogh, CFI Client Relationship Manager for the Munster Region, said:

“We’re delighted to have played our part in supporting the Killaloe Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre through these works and to have helped make this renovation possible. The team approached us with a dream of what could be made possible with this fantastic building which would provide an accessible and welcoming space for so many individuals and groups in the community, delivering a broad range of activities, courses and events including art and crafts, computer classes and cookery programmes for all ages and abilities, youth services including a youth cafe, to name a few- and now with the expanded rooms, the new training kitchen, community cafe and garden space, all of that has been made possible. I have no doubt that for their next 20 years, this team of change-makers will be dreaming even bigger for the local community.”

Community Finance Ireland provided Killaloe Ballina Community and Family Resource Centre with a long-term loan of €218,000 to undertake the repairs and renovations required on the buildings. Further funding was provided by the Town and Village Renewal Scheme from the Department of Rural and Community Development via Clare County Council, and LEADER funding from both North Tipperary Development Company & Clare Local Development Company.

Between 2016 and 2021, Community Finance Ireland delivered €7 million in social finance supports to volunteer and community-led organisations in Munster, including €1.7 million in support of projects in Clare, and €1 million in support of projects in Tipperary.

If your community group is  looking for finance, get in touch today or follow us on Twitter.