GAA clubs in Northern Ireland are urged to “invest in their future” by considering social finance.
Community Finance Ireland has launched a series of webinars called ‘Supporting GAA Clubs on and off the pitch’ which focuses on investing in infrastructure and people to ‘ensure the sustainability of their club and therefore their their county”.
Since 2016, Community Finance Ireland has made £3.2m of social finance available to GAA clubs in the north.
It offers an alternative to traditional lending avenues for organizations that want to make a difference in their local community. As the loans are repaid, the organization reinvests in other community projects – this is social impact financing.
All Ireland Club Champions Kilkoo GAC hosted the first of the All Islands webinar series on the role of social finance in GAA club development.
The club received funding in 2018 to build and provide new facilities for its members.
Kilcoo GAC chairman Roger Morgan said: “Our commitment to investing in our club and its facilities is at the heart of our promise to create a community center for all.
“Community Finance Ireland has understood this commitment and has been a key partner in helping us create facilities for volunteers, players and fans of the game of today and tomorrow.”
Phelim Sharvin, from Co Down, Community Finance Ireland, said: “GAA clubs are often the heart of a local community and it is essential that they invest in their future to maintain this important role as a community hub for generations to come.
“GAA clubs are more than the teams that line up every week – it’s the coaching staff, the groundskeepers and kit team, the hospitality staff, the bus drivers, the board members of administration and these tireless volunteers who carry out all the tasks at hand.
“The legacy of a club rests with these people, and it is important that clubs invest in the future of these volunteers just as they consider the future of their senior panel.
“Handing the baton to the younger generation to come – both on and off the pitch – is vital to the sustainability of Down’s clubs and with hands-on support from our team at Community Finance Ireland, clubs can rely on solutions equitable and flexible social finance solutions that can help them become self-sufficient as a club and community center.”
For more information, visit www.communityfinanceireland.com.