Friday 24th November: Energia Renewables, part of the leading green energy provider Energia Group which owns and operates 16 wind farm sites across the island of Ireland, recently held a workshop for community groups from Counties Sligo, Roscommon and Leitrim to discuss the impact of the Derrysallagh Wind Farm community benefit fund.
Community groups from Ballyfarnon, Geevagh, Keadew and Arigna, which operate community services or activities within 5km of the wind farm near Kilronan, were invited to attend the meeting to discuss grant size, multi-annual grant awards and community legacy projects for the area.
The Derrysallagh community benefit fund will operate for the lifetime of the wind farm and is administered on behalf of Energia by Community Foundation Ireland, an independent charitable organisation. Groups can currently apply for project grants of up to £3,000 all year round. In certain circumstances, grant size may be increased up to €6,000, depending on the need for the project and availability of funding.
The Ballyfarnon Community Enterprise Group recently received a grant of €2,500 to install new stage lighting in the community hall. Aisling Lowe, who chairs the local group, said, "There are funders out there and we’d already successfully applied for a large government grant for the refurbishment of our hall but it can be complicated. The Derrysallagh Wind Farm fund, though, makes it simple to apply. For a start, you don’t need to have raised a large proportion of the money required in advance. We needed new lighting for our redesigned stage and it’s been installed in time for Christmas activities, including the local school play.
“We’re grateful to Energia for reviewing the fund and inviting local community groups to discuss how it can best help the local area.”
Rosy Billingham, Community Engagement Manager for Energia Renewables, said: “All our funds prioritise energy efficiency and sustainability but we tailor them to meet the needs of the communities living beside our wind farms. Over the lifetime of the Derrysallagh Wind Farm, we will be investing over €700,000 through the community benefit fund and we want it to have maximum positive impact.”
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Ireland, added: “Listening to the views of local people and their priorities is key to the success of the Derrysallagh benefit fund. We at the Community Foundation are proud of our long-standing partnership with Energia through their wind farm funds in Ireland, which are delivering some really transformative grants to community services, while also opening up opportunities for local young people.