€400k climate fund open to community groups

A fund of €400,000 from the Dept of the Environment is open to community groups for climate projects.

The council’s community climate change officer John Jackson is currently working with groups on submissions, as applications opened on March 1.

“What seems to be catching the attention of people at the moment is retrofitting community buildings,” said Mr Jackson at an SPC meeting on February 23.

“I’m getting 90% plus enquiries coming in about retrofitting. They are of a substantial cost, and we wouldn’t be able to do them all, so I appeal to community groups to think outside the box a little bit in terms of the themes.”

He said that since the start of January, he had contact with 11 groups. “More than 50% are under the €20,000 category. I’ve had contact from three GAA clubs looking to retrofit their clubhouses, in the €50,000 plus category; and two community groups looking to retrofit their centres as well.

“The timeframe of an 18-month completion date would be difficult for retrofitting a large building because by the time you get contractors in place, a project starts, there could be hold-ups.

“So we’ve gone back to department to ask what happens if we can’t complete it in the 18 months, because realistically all of these projects aren’t going to run 100% efficiently,” Mr Jackson told the members of the SPC.

It’s a bit difficult to give you a definitive answer yet councillor, and there’s a bit of work to be done between now and mid-April in terms of costings.

SPC chair, Cllr Tom Farrell, said it was a great initiative open to all community groups and encouraged everyone to get on board.

Cllr Paul Hogan queried how many projects could be brought to fruition under the current funding, and Mr Jackson told of how

Cllr Johnny Penrose asked if the GAA clubs would need to be community-led in order for them to qualify for the scheme, to which Mr Jackson told him he had queried this with the department who confirmed that all GAA clubs would be eligible.

The Ballynacargy councillor queried what would happen the money if all of it wasn’t drawn down in the 18-month timeframe, to which Mr Jackson said he was currently awaiting department clarification on this.