Funding from the Republic’s National Lottery may well be available for similar projects.
Online news service 4ni reports today that St Joseph’s GAC, Craigbane, Co Derry, is one of 62 groups across Northern Ireland awarded grants totalling UK£621,268 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme.
In the report, a club spokesperson is quoted as saying that their new wind turbine will be a great asset for the club: “Our sports hall, which has the only indoor 3G pitch in Derry City Council, benefits the entire community…The turbine…will provide power for the lighting in the hall, changing rooms and gym and for the showers. It will also provide electricity for our clubhouse which is used for social activities like dancing and music classes. We have an outside pitch with training lights and this will also power these. And any savings we make will go straight back into the running of the club.”
Similar partnerships between the National Lotto and GAA clubs and community groups are possible as a means of providing long term solutions to growing energy costs. The Lotto funds a great many community initiatives and this year is estimated to spend €220m which could include as much as €21m on capital grants to local sporting groups (page 245 of the PDF).
The example of St Joseph’s suggests that if some of this grant support were to be directed towards energy production and conservation sports clubs would benefit in the long term from a continuous source of revenue/energy cost savings creating a multiplier effect for the lotto’s grant schemes.
There are also opportunities for community projects to receive funding for energy projects. The Lotto supports other initiatives such as Communal Facilities in Housing Projects, Private Housing Grants, Supports for Community and Voluntary Sector and Local and Community Development Programmes all of which would benefit enormously from innovative energy saving, renewables production projects.