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– Community Finance Ireland delivers €1.6million in support for Donegal community organisations.

Ballyshannon-based GAA Club, Aodh Ruadh is celebrating an upgrade to its facilities, helping it maintain county ground status and attract new members, thanks to funding from Community Finance Ireland (CFI). 

Originally founded in 1909, Aodh Ruadh CLG is one of the foremost GAA Clubs in Co. Donegal, with around 400 members.  The Club consists of the main pitch, Father Tierney Park, which holds county ground status and hosts at least one National Football League fixture each year.  It also owns Pairc Aodh Ruadh (Mundy’s field) on an adjoining site, which consists of two sand-based playing fields and training facilities including a Fitness Trail and a Hurling Wall. Aodh Ruadh CLG has enjoyed significant success at County, Provincial & National level and offers both football & hurling to members.

Patsy Kilgannon, committee member at Aodh Rua GAA, said that awareness of Community Finance Ireland’s experience in supporting GAA clubs was a key factor in their decision-making process.  He said: 

There was an awareness of Community Finance Ireland in the club, and we felt it was as convenient to go to Community Finance Ireland instead of traditional sources of finance. A great credit to Anne for making the process a positive experience all the way. The loan from Community Finance Ireland has been utilised to assist with our recent redevelopment costs, helping us to maintain county ground status and improve facilities for our members.”

Patsy Kilgannon, Committee Member, Aodh Ruadh GAA

Since 2016, Community Finance Ireland  has provided €1.6million in social finance loans to 21 projects based in Donegal.  Client Relationship Manager for Connacht and Donegal, Anne Graham, says there’s huge potential for others in Donegal to follow in Aodh Ruadh’s footsteps. 

Ms. Graham said:

“It’s fantastic to see GAA Clubs like Aodh Ruadh CLG investing in their facilities, which not alone helps them to maintain their county ground status, but no doubt plays a role in attracting and retaining members.  Like Aodh Ruadh CLG, Community Finance Ireland is focused on social improvement – all the repayments made on social finance loans go right back into supporting another community group either here in Donegal or across the country.”

Anne Graham, Client Relationship Manager for Connacht and Donegal, Community Finance Ireland

About Community Finance Ireland

Community Finance Ireland delivers social finance solutions that support local communities and drive social impact through sports, community projects, faith-based groups, Arts & Heritage, Childcare, Environment, Health & Wellbeing, Housing, Tourism and social enterprises.  It is the fastest growing dedicated social finance provider across the island of Ireland and the UK. 

Community Finance Ireland is part of the UCIT Group, established in Belfast in 1995 and now supports a diverse portfolio of clients across the island of Ireland from Bantry to Ballymoney, and from Dublin to Dingle.

Currently, Community Finance Ireland is the only Irish and UK member of FEBEA, the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks. 

For further information, visit our website or follow us on Twitter.  

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– Community Finance Ireland delivers €1 million in support for Tipperary community organisations.

Boher Community Development Group is a shining example of what a community can achieve when they come together. Last year Community Finance Ireland supported Boher Community Development Group in the creation of a sensory garden and recreational amenity at the heart of Boher, Co Tipperary.

Nora Keogh, Client Relationship Manager at Community Finance Ireland recently returned to Boher to see the finished community sensory garden, which is wheelchair accessible and includes a geodome, biodiversity garden and a mud kitchen.

Ms. Keogh said:

“It is such a joy to come back to Boher to see this incredible project brought to life and being enjoyed by children and their families. 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.

“Nicola and the team at Boher Community Development Group came to Community Finance Ireland with an idea and we were delighted to help them make it a reality. This group was established just before our first lockdown in 2020 and it goes to show, when you have a vision for your local community, and the drive to create that change, there’s no limit to what you can do.”

Nicola Welford, Chairperson at Boher Community Development Group, said:

“Nicola and the team at Boher Community Development Group came to Community Finance Ireland “We’re very proud of all we’ve achieved for the local community here in Boher. We’re a population of around 350 people and we felt it was so important that we create a space where everyone would feel welcome. It was important that this space was fully wheelchair accessible and inclusive to all.”

“As a small group, everything we achieve is done through the commitment of our volunteers and the support of our local community – so many people played a part in fundraising and in donating their time to create this. To have the social finance support from Community Finance Ireland to get us over the line was fantastic – Nora and the team understand the challenges which community organisations face and their services are tailored to support volunteer-led groups like ours. We couldn’t have made this a reality without them.”

About Community Finance Ireland

Community Finance Ireland delivers social finance solutions that support local communities and drive social impact through sports, community projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises.  It is the fastest growing dedicated social finance provider across the island of Ireland and the UK. 

Community Finance Ireland is part of the UCIT Group, established in Belfast in 1995 and now supports a diverse portfolio of clients across the island of Ireland from Bantry to Ballymoney, and from Dublin to Dingle.

Currently, Community Finance Ireland is the only Irish and UK member of FEBEA, the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks. 

For further information, visit www.communityfinanceireland.com or keep in touch on our teams latest news @ComFinanceIrl.  

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An Mheitheal Rothar continue to Recycle bikes for locals and we were delighted to help.

– Community Finance Ireland delivers €0.5million in support for Galway community organisations –

The award-winning An Mheitheal Rothar (AMR), a social-sustainable enterprise based in Galway City, is rolling out an expanded service at their community workshop at NUI Galway and at their retail outlet in Galway Shopping Centre, thanks to funding from Community Finance Ireland (CFI). 

Founded in 2012, An Mheitheal Rothar provides access to cycling and cycling mechanic skills training to people in Galway, regardless of their ability to pay. In 2018, the social enterprise introduced their award winning ‘Recycle Your Cycle’ initiative, which repairs and upcycles second-hand bikes. 

An Mheitheal Comhashaol Cooperative, trading as An Mheitheal Rothar, accessed a bridging loan from Community Finance Ireland, an all-island social finance provider, which supports community projects that drive social impact through sports, the arts, faith-based groups and social enterprises.

Cathy Coote, Fundraising and Communications Officer at An Mheitheal Rothar,said the funding has been critical to expand and upscale their offering to the local community in Galway. She said: 

“Our loan from Community Finance Ireland is enabling us to invest in new bike stock for our bike shop. Customers can avail of the Bike to Work scheme for these new bikes. The funds we generate support our work, such as providing free second-hand bikes for students studying under the University of Sanctuary programme as well as repairs, training and upcycled bikes for sale. All this helps to grow the numbers of people cycling for health, transport and sustainability.”

Since 2016, CFI has provided €0.5million in social finance loans to projects based in Galway.  Client Relationship Manager for Connacht and Donegal, Anne Graham, says there’s huge potential for others in Galway to follow in AMR’s footsteps. 

Ms. Graham said: “It’s fantastic to see AMR growing to meet the demand in their local community and for that growth to be sustainable. Like AMR, Community Finance Ireland is a social enterprise – all the repayments made on social finance loans go right back into supporting another community group either here in Galway or across the country. 

“In that sense, our social finance loans aren’t dissimilar to the circular economy which AMR support. We’re delighted to be helping people in Galway get on their bikes, which will in turn help us support a local GAA club in Donegal or a Family Recourse Centre in Mayo.”

  • Anne Graham, Community Finance Ireland is working across Connaught and Donegal
  • For more information on An Mheitheal Rothar, visit: https://bikeworkshops.ie/ 

About Community Finance Ireland

Community Finance Ireland delivers social finance solutions that support local communities and drive social impact through sports, community projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises.  It is the fastest growing dedicated social finance provider across the island of Ireland and the UK. 

Community Finance Ireland is part of the UCIT Group, established in Belfast in 1995 and now supports a diverse portfolio of clients across the island of Ireland from Bantry to Ballymoney, and from Dublin to Dingle.

Currently, Community Finance Ireland is the only Irish and UK member of FEBEA, the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks. 

For further information, visit www.communityfinanceireland.com or keep in touch on our teams latest news @ComFinanceIrl.  

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The city of Derry~Londonderry has long been synoymous with Halloween. Known as the Halloween Capital of Europe and voted the best place in the world to celebrate it.

The festival returns in 2022 and will run from Friday 28th October right through until Halloween night. Featuring family orientated activities like monster making arts and crafts, a pumpkin hunt and Halloween storytelling. For older visitors there is cemetery tours, a dress up silent disco and music gigs from Alabama 3 and Hudson Taylor. There’s also a big fireworks finale.

If you are visiting Derry~Londonderry this Halloween, this is a also a perfect opportunity to visit some of the local social enterprises in the area. Delivered by volunteers and community champions, these local visitor experiences’ core purpose is social impact as well as visitors’ enjoyment.

Access to the Arts for All

Greater Shantallow Arts is a community arts organisation that aims to provide direct access to the arts within disadvantaged communities in the Greater Shantallow Area/Outer North Region of Derry. Their Studio 2 premises is one of Ireland’s best loved Arts centres. The group provide a range of activities from theatre shows to classes and workshops. The highlight of their year is their partnership with North West Carnival to create a wonderful Halloween Carnival.

Sensory Support

ASpace2 MultiSensory Centre provides day opportunities for adults and children with additional needs. The five multi-sensory rooms are designed to ensure that children and young adults with additional support needs are able to access a community facility which is age appropriate and is meaningful regardless of ability.

Book your Choice – there’s loads to choose from:

New Gate Arts & Culture Centre is a vibrant arts and culture centre located in the Fountain area of the city. Close to the historic walls and the city centre it offers a range of workshops, classes, performances, talks, tours, festivals and cultural events with something for everyone.

Inclusive Coffee taste:

The Whistle Stop Café is found on Derry’s Foyle Road and is part of the North West Learning Disability Centre. It is the perfect stop for a bite to eat or a delicious baked treat after a visit to the nearby St Columb’s Cathedral. The café is a fantastic social enterprise that offers employment opportunities to people with disabilities. 

History Buffs this way:

The Museum of Free Derry is dedicated to telling the story of what happened in the city between the years 1968 and 1972. Located in Derry’s Bogside where the events of Bloody Sunday unfolded, particular focus is paid to those most involved and effected by these events. The exhibition aims to remember and help understand the local history of the city and its contribution to the ground breaking civil rights struggle which erupted in Derry in the mid-1960s and culminated in the massacre on Bloody Sunday. A must see for any history aficionados.

Visit the Farm and make new friends

Just a 20 minute drive outside of the city, Gortilea Social Farm provides a space for practical, meaningful and enjoyable day experiences in a rural environment irrespective of ability or disability. Visitors can look after a range of livestock from sheep, cattle and horses as well as learning about growing and cooking healthy meals. Providing both indoor and outdoor activities ensures that there is something to do no matter the weather conditions. 

Spending your time and money in these venues not only helps deliver social impact but is an endorsement that,  the local volunteers and committees’ efforts are valued.

#Social Time is always a good time.

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are being delivered by volunteers and community champions behind local visitor experiences. When planning a weekend break in Donegal, don’t forget to consider some of the terrific clients that our team have helped over the past few years.

From sports activities to sight-seeing, there are many venues and activities located throughout the county whose core purpose is social impact as well as visitors’ enjoyment.

These venues and experiences are housed alongside beautiful beaches, traditional pubs and scenic landscape. Whether you experience a heatwave or a downpour, you are guaranteed a warm welcome and value for money. Get booking.

If you’re brave enough to storm the cold waters, then our first two suggestions will raise an eyebrow…

Kilcar Kayaking or Mullinasole Bay Water Sports Club is the perfect opportunity to explore whilst having fun. Mullinasole Bay is located in Mullinasole, south of Donegal Town whilst Kilcar Kayaking is located in Kilcar, east of Donegal Town. We recently supported both organisations to bridge a finance gap for a retrospective grant fund. It’s fulfilling to see these activity groups flourish and it’s worthwhile visiting for the scenery alone.

Mullinasole Bay Water Sports Club are an unincorporated club with a constitution and a committee who run the Club with a not for profit ethos. Mullinasole Bay Water Sports Club was set up formally in 2020 to promote and provide resources for children and adults to enable them to enhance their experience in salt water based activities such as swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, Rowing, Sailing and boating. 

Whether health and fitness is a priority or bringing your family and friends together for an event is on your to do list, Finn Valley AC is one of many great facilities.

With one of the best sports facilities on the island of Ireland, Finn Valley AC offers a wide range of facilities. From athletics tracks, pitches to indoor facilities catering for events. Situated in Ballybofey, south of Letterkenny it truly is a modern clubhouse that caters for all and could be the perfect opportunity to hold an event or keep fit throughout your tenure in Donegal. With countless athletes charging out of the blocks representing Ireland, proving the level of commitment and professionalism that goes on behind the scenes here at Finn Valley AC.

Famously, the terrain of Donegal is known for its breath-taking views and there is no exception when mentioning Fort Dunree – which is definitely one for the road trip bucket list with a driving route worthy of an Instagram. Located on the North Coast of Donegal overlooking the North Atlantic Sea.

Fort Dunree was established to enhance the level of tourism on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. The centre underwent major refurbishments in 2000, and again in 2006, and now incorporates walks, a museum, and a café. In 2019 the organisation received a loan from Community Finance Ireland to bridge FLAG grant aid and cash flow being used towards capital upgrades. 

“Its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife are drawing increasing numbers of visitors to one of Inishowen’s most beautiful and peaceful locations. It is a must see for every visitor to the Inishowen peninsula.” – Fort Dunree.

We first helped support Fort Dunree in 2007 so it’s great to see the impact it’s had on tourism over a decade later.

On site, is a military museum with exhibitions, events and the ability to hire the venue for celebrations such as weddings, receptions and conferences would be a unique experience and one to remember. Fort Dunree in Irish means “Forth of the Heather”.

Why not take a trip into what life used to be like and experience the harsh reality of the famine era with a tour around the Dunfanaghy Workhouse.

Located in Dunfanaghy, which now houses a Heritage Centre, explores local history and culture. This beautiful historic building includes tourist information point for the area, as well as an exhibition centre, a coffee shop, art gallery, craft and book shop.

The Workhouse opened as a heritage centre in 1995, and was officially opened by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

Catering for all, admission is free into the Workhouse. Although, some exhibitions do charge giving an in-depth experience of the struggles throughout The Famine and what the Workhouse was used for – a worthwhile experience.

In summary, this is just a snapshot of the inspiring organisations that we are able to support and love to see the social impact added throughout the Island of Ireland, highlighting projects that continue to choose change reinforces our purpose and the true value of social finance. If you are ever in the region of Donegal and are looking for things to do, make sure to consider these wonderful sites.

With a total of 225 miles of track, formed the largest narrow gauge railway system in north-west Europe from Co. Donegal to Co. Derry and Lough Swilly Railway.

A blast from the past, allowing you to see what life was like back in 1889 with one of the first combustion engines in the world. The recently refurbished museum comprises of railway rolling stock, interesting artefacts, displays, a video presentation, audio presentations, model railways, a reference library, a shop, a coffee hut and much more. The star exhibit has returned to the museum, an original 1907 Donegal Railway steam engine, “Drumboe”, the first engine to return to the county in many decades.

Donegal Railway Heritage Centre have been in existence for over 20 years in Donegal Town attracting some 6,000 visitors per year. At Community Finance Ireland, we are proud to have supported this organisation in restructuring their existing loans to aid cash flow.

Spending your time and money in these venues helps deliver social impact and the endorsement that the local volunteers and committees’ efforts are valued.

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The ambition of all within the Social Economy is to encourage sustainability and reduce levels of dependency, where possible, on the uncontrollable, whatever guise it might take.

The Community Voluntary & Social Enterprise (CVSE) sector owes a great deal to the availability of charitable support, as well as start-up and development grants from various quarters. Much of the Community & Voluntary subset will no doubt always be reliant on continued grant support to maintain the level of service provision. But what of the rest of the sector involved in growing the earned income side of their Social Enterprise?

Social Enterprise will usually need debt finance at some point, to draw down retrospective grant support, for capital acquisition, development, refinance personal debt, or manage existing unsustainable borrowings where immediate demands on repayment are a real threat.

The volunteer led ethos implies to the conventional debt system that there exists at least a reduced, if not total, absence of financial vested interest in the project.

The absence of collateral of any marketable value, often requires volunteers to sign personal guarantees in order to access this debt. A community manager pledging their home as security on a loan has been as bad as I have seen. That the voluntary board allowed the situation to arise is a whole other matter.

Social Finance is the incubator for the community sector on the road to achieving experience in borrowing, developing a credit score, but on terms and conditions appropriate to that market. It does not request personal guarantees off volunteers (or staff!). It normally does not charge arrangement fees. Its priorities are simple.

Presently in Ireland (2022), social finance up to a general limit of €500k is available to the CVSE sector absent arrangement fees and personal guarantees, yet recent survey findings would suggest that much of the sector remains unaware of the support, with over 50% financed by the conventional banking instruments such as overdrafts and secured borrowings.

IRD Kiltimagh in Co. Mayo are clients who understand the benefits of refinancing and are thriving as a result.

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Fundraising is one of the key income sources for GAA clubs. Unlike most mainstream lenders, Community Finance Ireland takes fundraising and projected fundraising into account when considering applications for finance for GAA projects.

Our recent #Supporting Clubs On and Off the Pitch Webinars hosted by Aisling O’Reilly Off the Ball Sports Journalist and featuring some of the best GAA clubs in our communities, offered some really insightful and diverse ways that GAA clubs and volunteers are engaged in helping finance the ambition of their clubs and players.

Here are some of the innovative and most popular fundraising initiatives that are being delivered right across the island of Ireland. You may already have tried these in your club, or you may not but as everybody knows all ideas for financing and keeping the club open and vibrant are always welcome.

1. Club Lotto

Club Lotto remains a big earner for GAA clubs. When Covid struck, volunteers weren’t able to go door to door to sell tickets anymore and a number of clubs moved their lotto activity to online. As one of our clients Jim Codd from Ballyhea GAA in Munster told us, at times the Club Lotto can account for up to 30% of our income.

2. Coffee Mornings and Bake Sales

Who doesn’t love a delicious treat? Host a coffee morning and invite the local community to come along. From Rice Krispie squares and millionaire’s shortcake to cupcakes and brownies, everyone can bring along their baked goods to sell, with the profits going into the club’s coffers.

3. Fundraising Walks

During the pandemic, the activity that saw the biggest rise in participation was walking. As a result clients like Knockananna GAA (Co. Wicklow) and Kilcoo GAA (Co. Down) invested in off pitch facilities such as floodlit walkways. Our own Client Relationship Manager for Munster Nora Keogh said that sponsored fundraising walks are a great source of income for GAA clubs as well as great family events:

“My daughter’s football club in West Limerick has the sponsored walk back again this year. The kids are delighted to go out and get €2 off each of their relatives for taking part. It’s only a small amount but it all adds up. It’s great to see and it’s a great family event on the day.”- Nora Keogh, Community Finance Ireland.

4. Golf Classics

The GAA continue to use other sports outside the realm of Gaelic Games to assist with raising funds for their club. One example that our client Jim Codd at Ballyhea GAA referenced was that of a recent Golf Classic, where a combination of players or volunteers created golf teams to compete against each other with all funds raised going back into the club.

5. Strictly Come Dancing Competitions

Add some sequins and sparkle to your fundraising activity with a Strictly Come Dancing style competition. Pair your GAA players with local community volunteers and sell tickets for a weekly dance off to see who knows their sliotar from their salsa.

6. The 300 Club

After meeting with Community Finance Ireland and setting specific and realistic fundraising targets, Freddie McInerney from Newmarket-On-Fergus GAA Club in Co. Clare explains how they set up a 300 Club:  

“We created a 300 club. We got almost 300 people to sign up over a four year period in which we asked for a donation of €5 per week, €250 a year or a quarterly or sign up on direct debit. People were very generous with some offering €1,000 upfront. We created a team of eight people dedicated solely to this fundraising activity. There were two lads in particular – Thomas Reagan and Darren Dugan who went out and collected probably the bones of €100,000 themselves, talking to people, ringing people, cajoling people and getting them to bring money in. So, in the end we got an awful lot of people signed up.”- Freddie McInerney, Newmarket-On-Fergus GAA.

7. Family Fun Days

With many GAA clubs now the hub of most communities the ability to offer family fun days for their members and their wider community is now a reality. Bouncy castles, Mr Whippy vans, face-painting, arts and crafts and fun and games are almost as likely to be found as the footballs or hurls.

8. Car Boot Sale

It’s an oldie but a goodie, but with us all trying to repurpose or resell rather than put items in landfill the car boot sale is a fantastic way to raise funds as well as reduce waste.

9. Table Quiz

Hosting a table quiz is a simple but effective way to bring in some extra cash and a great way to add some entertainment to the line up at the club house bar. A simple eight round event can be used to test your membership’s knowledge on a variety of subject. Maybe even include a specialist round about your club’s history.

10. Scrap Metal Collections

Scrap metal is valuable in high quantities and rural clubs have been jumping on the opportunity for years. It’s easy to raise money by asking farmers and people in your village for their unwanted scrap metal at a collection point so it can then be sold on. It doesn’t cost the community anything and in fact you’re providing a service that they would otherwise have to pay for.

“When we started fundraising initially, we wanted to find things that are a negative cost to people, so we ran a scrap collection, initially that can bring anything from €2,000 to €10,000 depending on when you are running it and how much people have in their backyards that they want to get rid of.”- Jim Codd, Ballyhea GAA.

Our thanks to all the club members or volunteers who participated in our webinar series this summer and for sharing their insights and experience. If you missed these webinars, don’t worry- you can play them back here. In the meantime we speak finance, but we hear people. Click here and the local client to reach out to the local Client Relationship Manager in your area.

#Supporting Clubs On and Off the Pitch.

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Today (16 June 2022) Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd t/a Community Finance Ireland held its all island AGM in person for the first time in three years. As part of the AGM the team officially launched its 2021 Annual Report.

The report published today highlights the following key takeaways:

Northern Ireland

  • £2m of loans into 14 local projects;
  • £7.2m to 354 charities via much needed grant payments in collaboration with Department of Communities NI and NICVA; and
  • £4.4m to 152 SME clients through the management of NISBLF Fund II since 2018.

Republic of Ireland

  • €2.2m of loans into 26 projects in the Leinster Region;
  • €1.2m of loans into 15 projects in the Munster Region;
  • €0.1m of loans into 4 projects in the Connacht Region; and
  • €1m of loan approvals into 17 projects in Ulster (excluding NI).

With a client portfolio, whose core assets are predominately its volunteers, the 76 projects saw their own belief mirrored back to them and secured term or bridging loans which supported them in:

  • Keeping their doors open;
  • Pivoting their business;
  • Ensuring their viability when their services were needed more than ever; and
  • Ensuring their sustainability as the island transitions to a new normal.

In what was another extraordinary year for the history the organisation and for the communities and citizens on the island of Ireland Donal Traynor Group Chief Executive said the following:

“Our team continue to ensure social impact is felt not just dreamt and 2021 was no different. Dreams were realised and progress was felt right across the island. Choose change is indeed the mantra of the sector and the volunteers who keep it vibrant. We are delighted to be part of that change, whilst recognising there is always more to do.”.

Donal Traynor, Group Chief Executive Community Finance Ireland

View the report in full here.

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Social finance is a unique form of funding. It helps communities and social enterprises make progress and build sustainable services whilst creating that elusive “social impact” footprint.

It can help projects move to the next exciting stage and many of our clients have done so by accessing both flexible term and bridging loans.

Here at Community Finance Ireland, our team have 21 years experience working with sports clubs (Kilcoo GAC, Co. Down), health/social care services (Foyle Women’s Aid. Co Derry), community halls (Billy’s Tea Rooms Co. Kilkenny) and digital hubs (Sneem Co. Kerry); all of whom have found that social finance enabled them to achieve social impact in their local communities.

A social enterprise, charity or community-led organisation may find themselves looking at their finance needs when assessing a project. While grants can play a role in supporting their objectives, there are those in the sector who also understand that a loan can be part of the solution and help build that new sports facility, re-roof the church, support additional employment or build office facilities in a remote village.

If your organisation is considering a new project, restructuring its finances or has an idea that will drive social impact then here are the Top 5 Tips that will make it easy for you to apply for a social finance loan:

Top 5 Tips for Success:

  • Tell us about yourself

Share what issues you are seeking to address, the facilities you wish to develop or the opportunity you see in your local communities.

  • Confirm Eligible Legal Status

Ensure appropriate governing documents are in place and the applicant organisation has the appropriate power to borrow. Outline the details of those responsible including the list of Directors and/or Trustee

  • Management Team

Highlight the positive attributes of the people behind the project, including: Commitment to improving their community, Track Record, Professional Experience and Skills. Also, evidence clear communications and insights along with sound financial management skills.

  • Financial Performance

Financial stability is a key way to show your organisation will be able to repay a  loan. Alongside financial stability, factor in the social and environmental impact too.  Your ability to repay is assessed by looking at past, present and future finances. These typically include:

  1. Access to previous projects results.
  2. A review of past audited accounts.
  3. Assess relative trends and fundraising capacity.
  4. Recent management accounts, loans held, bank statements and debtors/creditors listings.
  5. Future financial projections.
  • Demonstrate Social Impact

Typically our successful clients are driven by local job creation, local facility development, delivery of health & social care support plus the promotion of diversity and inclusion.

Our Clients Choose Us, as We Offer:

At Community Finance Ireland, We Speak Finance. But We Hear People.

In summary, social finance continues to grow in popularity as a route to helping change-makers deliver the change they want to see and be part of. Whatever you see and whatever it is that you dream of we are waiting to hear from you.

Get in touch here: https://communityfinanceireland.com/contact/

Ends.

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As an all-island brand, with a growing team, our colleagues live and work in Down, Antrim, Meath, Donegal, Waterford, Limerick, Cavan, and Louth. Whilst they also have the option to work at our dedicated office spaces located in Ardee, Co. Louth or in Belfast City Centre.

In light of both the NI and RoI governments’ decision to relax Covid restrictions our team are now working “the new norm”.  

With Northern Ireland’s growing confidence in an office versus home working environment and the Republic of Ireland creating a Bill to pass legislation protecting employees working from home (The Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021) the traditional five days a week, office based working model is now clearly in transition.

Our team at CFI, have technically spent the best part of the last two years working from home (often at the kitchen table or in some cases a bedroom) and as we settle into our new norm, we asked our people what were the pros and cons they learnt from their experience and how will this experience support them in their day-to-day delivery of social finance solutions to grassroots community clients and projects.

Here’s what they had to say:

“With my home base at Strangford Lough, a hybrid working model allows me to maximise my use of time effectively as I can block out days for new client meetings and when at home, focus on administrative aspects.”

Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance N.I

“Hybrid working is great and allows all colleagues to work where most comfortable. For me, being in the office is important for setting my own boundaries between work and home-life.”

Peter Smyth , Client Relationship Manager N.I

“Working from home has really helped me flourish in my career. I thrive on quiet time where I can focus on strategic papers or analytics and have found zoom meetings suit my working style.”

Nicky McElhatton, Marketing and Social Media Executive

“I joined CFI during the pandemic. My role is Front of House and I really enjoy the office environment. With a newly designed office space in Belfast, I can continue to work safely alongside others.”

Nick Heath, Front Office Administrator

“Having a blend of working-from-home and the office breaks up the week. With a flexible working schedule, this has really helped give me an improved work-life balance.”

Stephanie Nicholl, Compliance Officer

“Working-from-home is something I have gotten used to. Although, I do miss the aspect of being in the company of my colleagues as work relationships are not always the same behind a screen.”

Sandra Cowan, Finance Officer

“My week is usually now 70% office based with 30% working-from-home. I have adapted well to this new rhythm and have also found that as a Manager of a team, the trust with my people has improved greatly.”

Barry Connolly, Group Chief Financial Officer

“The ability to work remotely has given me the chance to spend more time at home. With less distractions, my time spent working is more productive and I have my cats for company, all day.”

Emma Thompson, Finance Executive

“A blended approach allowed me to meet colleagues whom I would not of come into contact with as much whilst working remotely. I am able to create relationships were I can reach out to colleagues from different departments which is hugely beneficial as I start my career.“

Jack Lennon, Marketing Intern

“Hybrid working works excellently for me with a team based all over the country. It offers me the ability to work wherever I might be needed, for both my team and my clients. As long as my phone and laptop charger are optimized, I find the flexibility of different working locations can ensure I can be where I am needed at all times.”

Emmett O’Hara, Head of Community Finance RoI

“My role finds me on the road quite a bit, meeting clients. This regular travelling is balanced by my ability to work from my home on days where I am liasing with other team members and assisting clients from a remote location.”

Anne Graham, Client Relationship Manager Donegal and Connacht

“My role has always been remote and as such, the hybrid working model has little impact on that working style. But what has been welcome, is that many of my colleagues now also have the same working pattern.”

Barry Symes, Client Relationship Manager South East Leinster and Waterford

“I joined Community Finance Ireland just over six months ago and have found zoom meetings invaluable in helping me connect with my new work colleagues.”

Nora Keogh, Client Relationship Manager Munster

“Working from the office is a key benefit to me that helps with my part-time hours and the logistics of family life. Office based work continues to be my personal choice but it’s great to have the ability to work from my kitchen on occasion.”

Terri Martin, Office Manager and Micro-Finance Lead RoI

“Working remotely has never been a barrier to my ability to deliver great work or to engage my colleagues or agency partners on key projects. I have found that meeting in person is always welcome but that with excellent IT support working from home offers a flexibility that really suits my way of working. This new norm has shifted me from a ‘work – life balance’ view to a ‘life –work balance’ view and I love it.

Lita Notte, Head of Marketing and Communications

“A hybrid structure has worked well for me. With the flexible option of remote work or going to the office I have a genuine sense of work-life balance. Time not spent commuting has been redirected to time spent in my local community.”

Pauline Carolan, Office Administrator

“A hybrid working system has been great for everyone here at CFI. With a small team, it allows us to grow resources in all regions of the island and connect with all communities. We swiftly introduced technology and IT supports to help our people and give them the tools they needed to continue to liaise with clients and each other. For me personally, it is great to have a balance with a new Belfast office acting as a hub in more recent months.”

Donal Traynor, CEO Community Finance Ireland

In summary, much like the uniqueness of our people, hybrid working offers different things for everyone. But in essence flexible working practices (either office or home) is successful and our team are very much “fans” of the new norm.

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