COMMUNITY groups and sporting clubs in Donegal will benefit from a €33 million funding package announced by the Department of Rural Development.
The Community Centres Investment Fund is the largest ever capital investment in social facilities in Ireland, providing grants of up to €300,000 for works such as extensions, energy efficiency upgrades and improved access for people with disabilities.
Announcing the funding, Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys said the money would be shared between 278 community centres nationwide.
As well as community centres, grants ranging from €25,000 have been ringfenced for parish halls, scouts clubs, youth hubs, family resource centres, club houses and sports complexes.
In Donegal the three biggest beneficieries, receiving €300,000 each, are Coole Cranford Community Centre, the Crossroads and Killygordon Enterprise (CAKE) centre and Letterkenny Community Centre.
A spokesperson for Coole Cranford said the money would be an enormous help to the local area.
“This money will be used to renovate, refurbish and upgrade the centre’s facilities for all our local groups. The funding will have massive benefit to our local community now and in the future,” they added.
Letterkenny Community Centre said their money would be used to develop a range of new facilities.
“We are delighted that our application for funding from the Community Centres Investment Fund was successful. We will develop a new social hub and changing facilities at Letterkenny Community Centre. This project will be a welcome addition for the municipal area.”
The CAKE centre will use the money to purchase and install solar panels, heat pumps and to fit new windows and doors, making it one of the most energy efficient community centres in Ireland.
Announcing the massive cash pot, Minister Heather Humphreys said, “The local community centre is at the heart of our towns, villages and parishes right across the country.
“Our community centres come in many different shapes and sizes and provide a wide and diverse range of services and activities. The community centre is where the children go to play sport, it is where meals are provided for our senior citizens, it’ i where the local dramatic society perform and it is where the ICA, our Men’s Sheds, youth clubs and other local organisations come together for meetings and events.
“Most importantly, in the month of December the community centre is often the place that Santa will come to visit to meet the local children. It was a priority for me as Minister for Rural and Community Development to put this new funding stream in place and I am delighted to announce the successful projects.”