Pictured: Alannah Mayes of Two Castles Boxing Club, Newtownstewart, shows how SSE Airtricity's Community fund has hit the £1.5million mark
SSE Airtricity’s Community Fund, which supports communities close to the company’s wind farms, has passed a major milestone in Northern Ireland, with this year’s allocations taking the total amount awarded to over £1.5 million.
SSE Airtricity has so far provided funding to over 520 community groups, including schools, sports clubs and community associations, as well as supporting 76 local students with their third-level education fees, across counties Derry~Londonderry and Tyrone.
In the most recent annual review of its Community Fund, titled Helping to Power the Future, the company revealed that it had awarded over £290,000 in its last financial year alone. Since then, a further £200,000 has been handed out, taking the total since 2008 to well over the £1.5m mark.
The SSE Airtricity Community Fund places a large emphasis on projects to improve energy efficiency and sustainability, to ensure long-term benefits at both a local and national level. Examples of projects supported in recent years include insulation of buildings, installation of solar panels, replacement of windows and doors, and upgrades to energy-efficient lighting.
Mark Ennis, SSE Ireland Chairman, commented:
“At SSE Airtricity, we believe in making a positive difference. That’s why as well as promoting green energy generation, we believe local communities should benefit too. Since 2008, our business has been building and operating wind farms in Northern Ireland: providing clean, renewable energy; investing in local jobs and businesses; supporting community projects; and funding further education.
“We’re very proud to have now awarded over £1.5 million through our Community Fund programme, supporting so many local groups, and I’m looking forward to seeing many more important community projects benefitting in the years ahead.”
Among the beneficiaries of the Community Fund is Two Castles Boxing Club, Newtownstewart, which has used the funding to develop complete and energy-efficiency projects within the club, including attic and roof insulation repairs. John Gallagher, Chairman of the club, said: “The part SSE Airtricity has played in the club’s success cannot be underestimated, as without our modern facilities we would not be attracting new members, and indeed could not train them properly in the facilities we had.”
Brian Dougherty MBE, Secretary at Creevedonnell Cricket Club, said the funding from SSE Airtricity has helped the club to upgrade their facilities. “As well as allowing us to cut our energy costs, it has transformed our pavilion into a local hub that can now be used during the off-season and right through the year.”