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Lottery cash to help NI community venues save money during the recession

25 May 2011

Big Lottery FundA Down community group will be able to save money during the recession and run more activities for local people in its centre thanks to a grant windfall from the Big Lottery Fund 

Quilly Rural Development Group is one of 22 groups across Northern Ireland that have been awarded grants totalling over £195,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme  The programme offers Lottery cash to local groups to carry out improvements to their community venues so they make savings on their heating and lighting costs and cut down on their spending.

The group, near Dromore, has been awarded £49,350 to carry out a range of improvements including insulating a wall, insulating their roof, installing double glazing and upgrading their boiler and heating system.

“The hall we’re based in is over 100-years-old,” said member Paul Roulston. “We host info evenings for older people, music tuition and cultural evenings, and we’d also like to run more training and education courses.

“We raised money to install central heating, but with an old building like this the power has to be on for hours before the event starts, just so the room is warm enough. These energy saving measures will hopefully mean we no longer have to use our electric heaters to turn up the temperature as these are very expensive to run.

“The improvements will help us save money on our heating costs and cut down on our fuel bills. We can then plough the savings we make back into the events we run, so we can carry on providing as many as possible free of charge.”

Shaftesbury Bowling and Recreation Club, in south Belfast, will use a grant of £9,965 to upgrade its club house by installing PVC doors and double glazing and carrying out an energy audit to find out where they are wasting energy and can cut their heating and electricity bills.

Secretary Raymond Smyth said: “As well as giving local people the chance to enjoy bowls, we also run a range of activities for the community including modern and Irish dancing classes, charity events, quizzes and a food festival run by the local Chinese community.”

“As a result of the work we’re doing we hope to save about 25% on our energy costs. The money we save will go right back into the club, helping us buy equipment, make more improvements to our venue and run more events for the local community to enjoy.”

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair said: “Organisations can apply for two grant sizes through the Energy Efficient Venues programme. Grants of £2,000 – £10,000 and grants of £15,000 – £50,000 are available for groups to carry out improvements such as double glazing, upgrading insulation, installing a more efficient heating system.

“If the venue is already energy efficient, a grant could give organisations the opportunity to install solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass technologies such as wood pellet boilers.

“It is possible to apply for a small grant followed by a large grant, but community organisations must be aware that if they plan to do this they need to get their applications for a small grant in to the Big Lottery Fund between now and the end of August 2011.

“This will give them time to have their small grant assessed and awarded and to complete their project before they apply for a large grant.”

To find about more about the Energy Efficient Venues programme visit the BIG Lottery Fund website or call the Big Lottery Fund’s Information and Events team on 028 9055 1455. A full list of grants made today is available here

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