Click here to view our all island annual report 2022 View Now

Share this article:

Ballymacash Sports Academy, based in Ballymacash outside Lisburn, Co. Antrim has been able to install a new floodlit 3G pitch, car park and spectator fencing thanks to a Social Finance loan from Community Finance Ireland.

But this is just the start of the club’s ambitious developments. As Chairman Phil Trimble comments:

“It feels like the building work going up is us just getting started. There is an unstoppable force, an army of volunteers, coaches, people behind the scenes and our committee who put in phenomenal efforts to make the club what it is. It’s a brilliant place to be with a great vibe. It’s all really really positive.

In addition to providing sporting facilities on the pitch for their members, they have teamed up with local community development organisations to create a community garden and allotments which has had lasting social impact for the groups involved. One such community group led by Karl Bothwell said:

“We’ve been kindly welcomed in by the Ballymacash Sports Academy. Our young adults come here three days per week and they work at the allotments, planting vegetables and then they take the vegetables they have grown and donate them to local foodbanks and homeless charities.”

Two young adults tending to their allotments at the Ballymacash Sports Academy

Since 2016, Community Finance Ireland has supported 166 sports clubs, social enterprises and organisations from across the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland, with a total of £18.1 million in social finance loans, with £5.6m of that going to sporting organisations like Ballymacash.

Peter Smyth, Client Manager at Community Finance Ireland added:

“In the case of Ballymacash Sports Academy, the improved facilities has led to an increased sporting success by the club and greater usage by local schools and groups. The collective ambitions and efforts of the committee and the wider community is admirable and one that we were keen to support with social finance funding. Often capital projects like this one creates new facilities, but it also helps build momentum and shows that the club committee is delivering on the club development plan.”

During the BBC’s coverage of the Ballymacash Rangers v Glentoran match on 2 February, the broadcaster kindly featured the community’s efforts. You can play this back here at 1:13:40 in.

If you and your community facility need advice, get in touch today. We speak finance, but we hear people and we’re listening.  

Share this article:

Last Friday night was a night that will go down in history for Donegal boxing club Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club. The small club based in the foothills of the Donegal Mountains in Buncrana won big at the Ulster Boxing Council IABA Elite finals.

Two of their boxers triumphed on the night with Cahir Gormley being crowned the 67kg champion and Matthew McCole coming away with not only the 71kg title but was also announced as the Best Boxer of Championship.

Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club’s Matthew McCole is declared 71kg Champion and Best Boxer of the Championship.

Speaking about his win, Cahir said:

“It’s a big win for me. I won schoolboy titles and probably fell short around youth level, but I kept at it, kept working hard and it’s starting to pay off now. I want to be one of the best elites- that’s what I’m aiming for. We’re going to the top, this is only the start of it.”

This sense of determination and ambition is one shared throughout the club. Cahir’s teammate Matthew McCole, who was also victorious on the night, had disappointing performance at last October’s Irish elites, and wasn’t sure whether he had any future in the sport. But with the support of the Illies Golden Gloves coaches he was encouraged to continue competing. Matthew remarks:

“I boxed poor in the last Irish elites, I didn’t know what I was going to do after that. Them boys at the Illies Golden Gloves were asking me to go to the Ulsters and I was like ‘I don’t know’. We got sparring with Aidan Walsh over Christmas but, even after that, I still wasn’t sure. I could’ve taken the easy option, Jon was Irish number two at the weight last year, but I thought if I’m going to do it, I’ll do it the hard way.”

Matthew McCole, Cahir Gormley and the coaching team from Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club celebrate their success at the Ulster Boxing Council IABA Elite Finals.

Set up in 1998, Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club’s ambition is not just in the ring but also to develop their facilities for the wider local community. The club approached Community Finance Ireland back in 2016, when they were awarded the finance to purchase their training facilities at the Lisfannon Industrial Estate in Buncrana and to carry out works to make premises fit for purpose as an amateur boxing club.

Mary Nohilly from Community Finance Ireland who works with the club, was overjoyed with the results, saying:

“This is a fantastic result not only for the two lads taking home the titles but also for the whole team behind the scenes who have contributed to their success. A lot of work has gone into developing the club’s facilities to give the young people of Buncrana a place to train in the sport of boxing and these two titles are the result of that work paying off. A huge congratulations and hopefully a sign of more success to come!”

If your sports club has a project in mind, but needs the funding or advice on how to get started, get in touch with Community Finance Ireland today.

Share this article:

Today (Friday 19 January) is National Popcorn Day. With that in mind we asked some of our team what their favourite movies of all time are. With a wide range of interests, their suggestions have a bit of something for everyone.

This weekend why not grab a blanket, stick on your pjs, grab some popcorn (salted or sweet?) and curl up on the sofa with one of these classic movies.

Or better yet visit your local independent community cinema and see one of the latest releases. It is awards season after all and there are some fantastic films to choose from.

Donal Traynor- Group Chief Executive: Forrest Gump (1994)

What Donal had to say: Forrest Gump is a fantastic film with Tom Hanks doing a star turn in the lead role. The message at the heart of the film really underpins the theory that ignorance is bliss, and that the main obstacle to one’s ability to achieve is the internal fear of thinking what might go wrong. Just do it!”

Lita Notte- Head of Marketing and Communications: As Good As It Gets (1997)

What Lita had to say: As Good As It Gets is a Manhattan love story with hilarious characters and one of the most memorable scripts ever. Some of my favourite lines are when Jack Nicolson says: “You make me want to be a better man”, or when Helen Hunt’s character says, “Why can’t I just have a normal boyfriend?” or when Jack tells the cleaning lady, “Sell crazy someplace else – were all stocked up here…”. There are just so many great lines. A genius script played brilliantly by the full cast.”

Nick Heath- Front Office Administrator: High Fidelity (2000)

What Nick had to say: “My favourite film will often depend on my mood day to day, but one I love is High Fidelity. The film is very relatable and having worked in a few record shops myself, most of the scenes in Championship Vinyl I have actually experienced in real life. For me, John Cusack is a total bromance material, if given the choice I’d have him play in me in my biopic. And then there’s the soundtrack- so many great songs from The Jam, Velvet Underground, Aretha Franklin, the Kinks and Bob Dylan. Finally, Natasha Gregson Wagner is completely wonderful (and Natalie Woods daughter no less).”

Emma Thompson- Finance Executive: Jurassic Park (1993)

What Emma had to say: “That is a very tough choice to choose just one. But if pushed, I think I’d go for Jurassic Park and the sequels and new Jurassic World movies (except the most recent one, Dominion was a real stinker).  I love Jurassic Park for the nostalgia. I loved watching as a kid and love rewatching now as an adult. It always makes me wonder what would happen if they did manage to bring back dinosaurs.”

Barry Connolly- Chief Financial Officer: Star Trek II Wrath of Khan (1982)

What Barry had to say: “I am a huge Sci-Fi fan and in particular love all things Star Trek. Wrath of Khan is easily the best of the Star Trek films. A submarine thriller in space, with great script, acting and proper old school special effects before CGI made everything overblown. Influenced by Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, and addressing themes such as aging, loss, and redemption, this is a much deeper film than your typical sci-fi flick. And of course: Khan!!!”

Mary Nohilly- Client Relationship Manager: Dirty Dancing (1987)

What Mary had to say: I’d have to go for Dirty Dancing. I loved the soundtrack when I was a teenager and watched it many times and would sing along to all the songs with a hairbrush! I loved how the story unfolded and the chemistry between Baby (played by Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (played by Patrick Swayze). Now when we go on campsite holidays I think back to this movie and wonder if the dancers and entertainment crew have these wild secret dance parties. I also hear there is talks of a sequel coming in Summer next year. I wonder if it will live up to the original?

Nicky McElhatton- Social Media and Marketing Manager: Juno (2007)

What Nicky had to say: “I first saw Juno in a cinema in Leicester Square in London. I hadn’t heard anything about the film before going to see it. While I waited in the dark movie theatre, they were playing these strange, but funky wee indie songs. Little did I realise that it was the soundtrack for the movie by Kimya Dawson. From that point I was hooked. The music forms such an integral part of the film and couple that with the fantastic screenplay from Diablo Cody, the effortless but hilarious acting from now household names like Michael Cera, Elliott Page, JK Simmons, Alison Janney and cracker one liners that I still quote to this day- “that ain’t no etch a sketch homeskillet! That’s one doodle that can’t be undid!” After my first watch I saw the film another three times in its initial cinema run and have watched it countless times since on DVD and streaming.”

Pauline Carolan- Office Administrator: Moulin Rouge (2001)

What Pauline had to say: My favourite film is Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! I absolutely love everything about it: the spectacle, the theatrics, the drama and the unique take on music! Luhrmann is fantastically visual and has a real unique directorial style which I have loved in all his other great film Elvis, Great Gatsby, Romeo & Juliet – you know immediately when you’re watching a Baz Luhrmann film and I just love it!

Phelim Sharvin- Head of Community Finance (NI): Carlito’s Way (1993)

What Phelim had to say: One of my favourite films is Carlito’s Way. A brilliant storyline, a bit of a love story set in a gritty/crime environment with a twist at the end. The acting is brilliant, particularly Al Pacino. I enjoy a wide range of genres from Crime, Drama, Action to Historical, tending to stay away from Fiction/Sci Fi.

Independent Community Cinema and the Arts is just one of the many sectors that Community Finance Ireland support through our Social Finance lending. For more information on Community Finance Ireland and how we can help your next community project, get in touch today.

Share this article:

With support from Community Finance Ireland, Kilkenny County Council, and Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Gowran on the Move will open a new state of the art, inclusive outdoor community hub in Spring 2024.  

Nestled in the heart of Gowran village, the Gowran Outdoor Hub is a one-of-a-kind project designed to bring community, wellness, and inclusivity to the area. It’s set to feature a 300-metre walking/running track, multi-use courts (tennis, basketball, and football), and an inclusive playscape for all ages/ abilities.

It will deliver a space that prioritises safety and inclusivity, catering to people of all ages and abilities, as well as fostering community engagement and strengthening social bonds by providing a space for people to gather, play, and connect, encouraging physical activity, contributing to overall health and wellbeing.

At the centre of the project is the state-of-the-art castle-themed climbing frame, the first of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere. The equipment is designed with inclusivity at its heart and children of all abilities can use the facility. It’s a flagship project to bring together all ages and abilities in an inclusive social environment welcoming all and helping to combat marginalisation.

Gowran On the Move Community Finance Ireland Social Finance
Local children test-drive the new state of the art inclusive play area.

Thanks to our support and the support of the Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Kilkenny County Council, the Town and Village Renewal Grant, and other fundraising activities the initiative has already secured €395,000. Construction has already begun, with the play equipment and courts already taking shape. The project is estimated for completion in spring 2024.

Denis Hynes, the Chairperson for Gowran on the Move said:

“We’re beyond excited to finally see our long term vision start to rise from the ground. We truly believe this one-of-a-kind project will inject fresh energy into the heart of the Gowran community. We’re now appealing to local people, businesses and organisations to help us with a final fundraising push to get the project across the line in time for a spring launch.”

Gowran Hub Community Finance Ireland Social Finance Funding
The Gowran on the Move Committee on site as the Outdoor Hub begins to take shape.

Barry Symes, Community Finance Ireland’s Head of Community Finance for the Republic of Ireland was thrilled that we could help make the organisation’s ambitions a reality, saying:

“It is such a joy to see the progress being made on the Gowran Intergenerational Outdoor Activity Hub project – an all-inclusive project that will bring life to the community of Gowran and be enjoyed by all children and their families for many years to come. At Community Finance Ireland we support a huge range of community and volunteer-led projects from sports projects to social enterprises to faith-based groups, but they all start with an idea and a group of people who want to make it work.

Mick, Denis and the team at the Gowran Hub project came to Community Finance Ireland with an idea and we were delighted to help them make it a reality. This group has long established roots in their community and it goes to show, when you have a vision for your local area, and the drive to create that change, there’s no limit to what you can do. If you would like to support the project in their fundraising goals, get in touch with Denis or one of the committee members

If your community group has a project in mind, but needs the funding or advice on how to get started, get in touch with Community Finance Ireland today.

Share this article:

Join Phelim Sharvin in Templemore Baths in Belfast for an exciting new showcase event on 8 February 2024.

Community Finance Ireland have partnered with Belfast City Council and a number of other key strategic partners to deliver On Purpose: Inspiring and Showcasing Social Business.

The event is your opportunity to hear from success stories within the Community, Voluntary and Social Enterprise Sector as well as affording you the opportunity to chat to and get advice from sustainable finance experts about the funding opportunities available to your community organisation or social enterprise.

The event is free to attend and will take place in East Belfast’s Templemore Baths on Thursday 8 February, kicking off at 9:45am and finishing at 12:15 including a light lunch. To register attendance, click the booking link:

The Speakers

Phelim Sharvin | Sustainable Finance Expert, Community Finance Ireland

Phelim is a Chartered Banker and has Honours Degree and Masters Level qualifications in European Regional Development, Economics & Business Management. Now Head of Community Finance NI, Phelim has had sole responsibility for the CFI loan portfolio since 2007, committing approximately £80m to the wider CVSE sector and developed a successful range of bespoke loan funds most notably in the local Sports, Childcare, Green Energy and Start-Up Social Enterprise Sectors. Most recently he led the CFI Covid Grant Fund Management Team committing £22m grant funding to the local Community sector. He is a regular judge of the Social Enterprise NI Awards and chairs the CFI annual Dragons’ Den event.

Pamela Hughes | Kids Together, Belfast

Kids Together Belfast (KTB) was set up initially by two parents passionate about providing services for families, children and young people with complex needs. KTB uses the social enterprise model to deliver these services across the Belfast and Lisburn Trust areas. They are entrepreneurial and innovative in their approach and have scaled their venture over the past 8 years to employ more than 50 people in an area of high economic and social deprivation. Pamela Hughes will share the Kids Together Belfast story including how they have lobbied for policy change in terms of self directed payments, increased services to meet local needs and diversifi ed their income to help sustain the venture for the longer term.

Rónán Ó Dálaigh | Founder and CEO, Thriftify

The Thriftify platform enables charity shops to value their donations, instantly list them across all of the leading online marketplaces, and easily ship orders to circulators around the world. The social enterprise was launched in Ireland in 2018 and has been on a rapid growth trajectory; scaling to 98% market share in Ireland and expanding quickly across the UK. With a vision of changing how and why the world shops, Thriftify is building the engine for the circular economy. Charity shops receive the vast majority of used goods and, by making these items accessible to consumers who care, the company is aiming to create a new model of shopping – one that is not only sustainable but also impactful. A champion of social enterprise, Rónán has been the recipient of the Irish Presidential Youth Award, The Chancellor’s Medal at DCU and the winner of the Irish ENACTUS award for social enterprise. He was also voted a ‘Young Global Shaper’ by the World Economic Forum.

Alice Thompson | International Speaker and Purpose Coach

A proven Social Business Leader, Alice co-founded Social Bite, an Edinburgh café designed to employ and feed the homeless community. It now boasts 9 outlets, 100+ employees and has been visited by the likes of George Clooney, the Duchess of Cambridge, Bill Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Alice and her team made Social Bite a nationwide success, distributing over 150,000 fresh food items each year to those in need and campaigning for policy reform. Alice was also pivotal in the establishment of ‘The World’s Big Sleepout’ which took place in 52 cities across the globe with stars such as Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren reading bedtime stories to participants. A recipient of the RSGS Livingstone Medal, which is also held by the likes of Sir David Attenborough and Neil Armstrong, Alice is now an international speaker and one of the UK’s best known purpose coaches.

Hope to see you on 8 February.

Share this article:

– £18 million social finance provided to Northern Ireland voluntary sector since 2016 –

Kilcreggan Homes, an independent charity that provides housing, day and employment opportunities for adults with a Learning Disability, Autistic Spectrum Condition or an acquired brain injury, is expanding its residential accommodation offering with £85k support from social finance providers, Community Finance Ireland.

The charity has received a total funding package of £240k from Community Finance Ireland in 2023. The package includes refinancing of existing accommodation loans, £85k towards the purchase of a property to support the rehabilitation of a client with complex needs and a £5k charitable donation to Kilcreggan Homes, towards developing its Mid Ulster Sanctuary site near Magherafelt.

Since 2016, Community Finance Ireland has supported 166 social enterprises and organisations from across the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland, with a total of £18.1 million in social finance loans.

Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance Ireland, Northern Ireland said:

“The team at Kilcreggan Homes is hugely ambitious and has worked hard to widen the organisation’s portfolio in the past year. Across multiple sites including an urban farm and supported living properties in Carrickfergus, the charity helps 160 clients every week and achieves a clear social impact through the delivery of a high quality essential care service. Community Finance Ireland has provided £18million in social finance to Northern Ireland’s voluntary sector since 2016 and we’re proud that almost a third of that has gone to organisations like Kilcreggan Homes, which delivers Community Services and Health and Wellbeing services.”

Kilcreggan Homes Community Finance IReland
L-R, Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance Ireland, Northern Ireland, Damien Cassidy, Managing Director of Kilcreggan Homes and service users Lynn and Grace pictured at Kilcreggan Homes Garden Centre.

Damien Cassidy, Managing Director of Kilcreggan Homes said:

“The financial support from Community Finance Ireland allowed us to restructure existing debt and in turn to plan for the purchase of a property in Newtownabbey and develop our Mid Ulster site. As well as our urban farm, our café, garden centre and pop up Christmas shop welcome 15,000 visitors annually and provide service users with training, day opportunities and employment.. We have a resource centre where they can socialise and the purchase of the residential properties close by means we can now also offer further independent living opportunities to complex needs service users. We very much appreciate the advice from Phelim and his highly experienced team throughout the process, along with their enthusiasm for our vision.”

Read more stories from Community Finance Ireland’s clients here.

Share this article:

– Community Finance Ireland delivers £5.1 million of support in Antrim since 2016 –

A Carrickfergus-based sport and leisurewear company, founded by two friends during the pandemic, is the latest Co Antrim company to be supported by the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan FundThe Hybrid Academy was established by best friends Rob McFall, an aeronautical engineer and John Magill, a sales professional and received funding of £30,000 working capital to purchase stock and improve their supply chain.

The Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund is managed by Ulster Community Finance Ltd (UCF) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland. UCF is a subsidiary of the social enterprise Community Finance Ireland. Small businesses, sole traders and partnerships keen to develop their business can avail of loans up to £100,000, while start-up businesses can obtain initial loans of up to £15,000.

Rob McFall who lived in Italy prior to the pandemic explains how The Hybrid Academy has grown:

“The name existed for years before we founded the company as a nickname for the group of friends we regularly train with.  Like many small businesses, ours was founded in lockdown when we took a chance on making something we’d talked about for years, into a reality.  The team at NISBLF really helped us to understand what we needed to keep up with customer demand and make the business grow and of course support us with the finance to improve our supply chain.”

Community Finance Ireland NI Small Business Loan Fund Hybrid Academy Carrickfergus
L to R: Nigel McKernan (Invest NI’s Director of Corporate Finance), Robert McFall and John Magill (Founders and Owners of Hybrid Academy) and Dónal Traynor (Ulster Community Finance Ltd’s Chief Executive) at Hybrid Academy in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim. Photo Credit: Brian Morrison Photography

Ulster Community Finance Ltd Chief Executive, Dónal Traynor said:

“This ambitious young company is performing well in the crowded fitness apparel market and they are ready to take their business to the next level, keeping up with the demand created by their impressive digital marketing and athlete influencer engagement programme. The fast and flexible finance that the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund offers, is perfectly suited to support the Hybrid Academy and we look forward to seeing how the business evolves.

Other sectors which have benefitted from the Fund to date include manufacturing and renewable energy. The Fund is open to organisations throughout Antrim who are interested in learning how financial support of up to £100,000 could further their business ambitions.”

Nigel McKernan, Invest NI’s Director of Corporate Finance, said:  

“The Small Business Loan Fund continues to assist businesses throughout Northern Ireland to fulfil their growth ambitions. The Hybrid Academy is another great example of an early-stage business which has used the fund to help it to grow. It is encouraging to see that Rob and John benefitted from not only financial support but the knowledge of experienced business advisors throughout the application process.”

The NI Small Business Loan Fund is part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of loan and equity funds.

To find out more about the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund and how it could help with the next stage of your business’s plan, visit their website.

Share this article:

Clifden Town Hall is ready to turn it up to eleven at their local arts festival, dance classes, and their long-standing Bingo nights, having installed a new, state-of-the-art sound system with the support of Community Finance Ireland (CFI).

The Town Hall building has been a central part of the Clifden community for over 100 years and has undergone significant renovations in the past decade. General Manager, Kevin Gavin says this latest technological upgrade has kitted Clifden Town Hall out for the increasing number of activities they host for the local community including dance classes for young and old; indoor bowls; meditation; Thursday night Bingo and the longest-running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Festival.

Clifden Town Hall Mary Nohilly
Photographed at Clifden Town Hall are: Stephen O’Donnell, Clifden Town Hall committee member and Mary Nohilly, Community Finance Ireland (CFI) Client Relationship Manager Connaught and Donegal. Photo credit: Andrew Downes Photography

Mr. Gavin described how he remembered a chance meeting with Community Finance Ireland CEO Dónal Traynor when the time came to apply for funding for the much-needed sound system upgrade. He said:

“When I met Dónal at an event a few years ago, his commitment to supporting community organisations had stayed with me. When our committee recognised that we urgently needed funding for a new sound system for the hall, I immediately thought of Community Finance Ireland.

“Our experience with CFI has felt like a very personal one. It has always felt like Mary is just down the road and is happy to answer any questions we might have.”

Clifden Town Hall
Photographed at Clifden Town Hall are: Mary Nohilly, Community Finance Ireland (CFI) Client Relationship Manager; Ailbhe Gavin, aged 11; Kevin Gavin, Clifden Town Hall General Manager; Aoibhín O’Malley, aged 12; Cllr Eileen Mannion and Gráinne Gavin, aged 17. Photo credit: Andrew Downes Photography

Mary Nohilly, CFI Client Relationship Manager for Connacht and Donegal said:

“It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Clifden Town Hall. This beautiful, warm space brings so many people together from the local community and the great many visitors the area welcomes throughout the year. The team here provide so many fantastic activities and now everyone will be able to enjoy relaxing background music at their meditation sessions, and hear every call clearly at Thursday night bingo!”

Supporting Communities in Galway

Between 2016 and 2022, Community Finance Ireland delivered €3.4 million in social finance supports to volunteer and community-led organisations in Connacht, including €0.9m million in support of projects in Galway.

Based on a Social Value Analysis undertaken by the Rural Community Network in Northern Ireland, CFI 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.

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 or simply search community finance.

Share this article:

Community Finance Ireland’s Donal Traynor is the First Irish CEO appointed to the Board of European Finance Federation

Dónal Traynor, CEO of Community Finance Ireland (CFI), has been appointed as the first Irish board member of the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks (FEBEA), an umbrella group of 33 financial institutions from 15 European countries which develop and promote ethical finance principles.

The appointment was announced following the FEBEA Annual Conference in Athens last month, where Mr. Traynor spoke to delegates about the impact of CFI’s work providing social finance solutions to voluntary-led and grassroots organisations on the island of Ireland.

Donal Traynor Community Finance Ireland first irish CEO appointed to FEBEA Board

Community Finance Ireland, which has been a member of FEBEA since 2016, offers social finance loans to community organisations which drive social impact through sport, faith-based groups, social enterprises and community projects.

CFI was established in Belfast in 1995, and has supported a wide variety of organisations across the island of Ireland to a value of €100million in social finance.

Speaking on his appointment, Mr. Traynor said,

“I’m delighted to join the board of this excellent European network. FEBEA’s mission to work for the development of a fairer, more sustainable and more inclusive society is directly aligned with our mission at Community Finance Ireland. We’re proud to offer tailored supports to organisations that are creating palpable social change in our local communities across Ireland. Just as our peers in FEBEA do in communities right across Europe. For CFI, for our clients, and for the wider Not-For-Profit sector in Ireland, this closer collaboration with our European partners is an important step. We know from working with volunteers on the ground in communities from Bantry to Ballymoney, Donegal to Dublin, we have much to share with our colleagues across Europe and we will have much to learn from them.”

Pedro M. Sasia, President of FEBEA said:

“For FEBEA, the participation of an organisation like Community Finance Ireland, deeply aligned with ethical finance values and the spirit of community, is of great importance. That’s why we’re beyond happy to see Donal Traynor stepping up and actively engaging in the network’s most vital body: the Board of Directors.”

Originally from Cavan, Mr. Traynor was appointed to CEO of Community Finance Ireland in 2020, having led their business in the Republic of Ireland since 2004. He is the youngest CEO in the organisation’s history and the first to come from a non-banking background.

For more information on FEBEA, visit their website here, and to learn more about Community Finance Ireland’, visit our home page’s story click here.

Share this article:

On 9th October 2023, Sport NI opened a new £1million pound capital investment fund which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of sports clubs throughout Northern Ireland and contribute to a more sustainable sports club network.

Funded by The National Lottery, the Renewable Energy Fund will support sports clubs with infrastructure upgrades such as solar energy systems, air and ground source heating systems, sustainable water recycling solutions, and floodlight upgrades.

The Renewable Energy Fund will be delivered as a pilot programme in 2023/24, as Sport NI gathers information on which environmental interventions have the greatest impact within sports clubs. The fund was developed using feedback from sports clubs through Sport NI’s Environmental Sustainability Survey.

Investment will be spread across Northern Ireland with at least one club from each of the 11 council areas being selected to take part. To be eligible, clubs must have completed Sport NI’s Environmental Sustainability Survey.

Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance for Northern Ireland at Community Finance Ireland said:

“I welcome the announcement of this new initiative from Sport NI which will enable sports clubs across Northern Ireland to invest in infrastructure upgrades in line with renewable energy ambitions. Not only will the initiative have a positive impact on the environment but it will reduce clubs’ long term energy costs, allowing them to invest the savings into other areas of the clubs’ development.”

WHO CAN APPLY?

  • The Renewable Energy Fund Pilot Programme will only accept applications from sports organisations in Northern Ireland who either own or operate their own sports facilities.

WHAT TYPE OF PROJECTS CAN BE FUNDED?

  • Sport NI are interested in taking forward the following types of energy projects within sports clubs:
  • Solar Energy Systems (and ancillary equipment).
  • Air Source Heating Systems (and ancillary equipment).
  • Ground Source Heating Systems (and ancillary equipment).
  • Sustainable Water Recycling Systems.
  • Fixed Floodlight Upgrades (Specifically upgrades to LED Bulbs and Connection to Grid).
  • Sport NI may consider alternative interventions if recommended in your club energy audit, and if the benefits of that intervention have been clearly articulated.

If you are ready to apply to the Sport NI Renewable Energy Fund, click here for more details.

Top