TWO Banbridge groups have received a welcome boost from the Big Lottery Fund to make their activities more energy efficient.
Gilford Community Club and Liatroim Fontenoys GAA club were awarded grants totalling nearly £18,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme.
The programme offers Lottery cash to community groups to carry out energy efficient improvements to their community venues to make savings on their heating and lighting costs and benefit the environment.
Gliford club will use the grant to carry out a number of energy efficiency improvements to its community hall, based in the rural village of Gilford about five miles from Banbridge, so they can reduce heating and electricity costs, benefit the environment, and make the venue warm and comfortable for local people.
Club Secretary Jim Flanagan explained that the club will use the money to carry out an energy audit on the hall, which is 50 years old, so they can find out the electricity and heat they are wasting, and replace windows and door fixtures.
“At a time like this every penny counts,” said Jim. “Fundraising has been a struggle. We have to charge people to use the hall, whether it’s for a children’s party, a youth club or a bowling night. That money goes towards the costs of lighting and heating the hall.
“This is an old building and has had various remedial works carried out on it over the decades but this funding gives us the opportunity to really overhaul the situation rather than look at things in a piecemeal fashion.
“We hope that by reducing energy costs we can pass that saving onto members using the hall and also, by making it a more inviting and comfortable venue, we will actually increase the number of people and local clubs using the hall.
“This venue has been an important part of the community now for many years. This is a rural area so it provides a focal point for local people and really is at the heart of many people’s social and recreational activities.”
Liatroim Fontenoys Gaelic Athletic Club, near Castlewellan, has been awarded £7,518, to carry out an energy audit on their community venue, install double glazing, insulate cavity walls and buy energy efficient appliances.
These energy efficiency improvements will mean the club can reduce heating and electricity costs, benefit the environment, and put more money into running activities for the local community.
Information and application packs for the Energy Efficient Venues programme are currently available and can be accessed by visiting the programme pages of our website www.biglotteryfund.org.uk or by calling the Big Lottery Fund’s Information and Events team on 028 9055 1455.