Raheenleagh Windfarm Community fund
Grant of €90,000, commitment of €7,500 per annum for a duration of 12 years.
Kilanerin Ballyfad GAA Club has been at the heart of its local community since its foundation in 1950. Today, it is a vibrant and growing club with thirty four club teams serving a number of townlands in North Wexford. Similar to many GAA clubs in rural Ireland, the club provides a community service beyond the players and members.
In 2016, an increase in participation in Gaelic games coupled with population growth put increasing pressure on existing facilities at the club. The upward trend in participation drove the club to focus on improving facilities and plan for investment in a synthetic all weather playing and training pitch. Following a long history of club development, the club was committed to improve facilities to meet demand and best practice.
The club’s successful application to the Windfarm Community Benefit Fund proposed the installation of a new 1725sq.m. all weather playing surface with associated fencing and flood lighting. The club’s funding from the Windfarm Community Benefit Fund was supplemented with extensive local fundraising, a term loan and the extensive use professional expertise gleaned from the club’s broad membership.
How many people benefitted (directly or indirectly) from the grant?
The all-weather pitch has brought significant benefits to the GAA Club membership and the wider community. Specifically, the club membership is over 300 people with 70-80 adults and 220-230 underage. The split between male and female members is approximately 55%/45%.
The club catchment area is rapidly increasing and has a population of approximately 3,600 people across 1200 households. The facility is also accessible to residents of the wider North Wexford area as the only all-weather facility north of Gorey town.
In addition, three primary schools in the catchment area benefit from the pitch for training for school league competitions and school sports days. Diverse sports groups including a Boules club, Gorey Hockey Club and Gorey American Football Club also use the facilities.
What is different in peoples’ lives as a result of this project?
For all members, the new pitch has alleviated congestion on the existing pitches during busy periods and has enabled additional training take place all year round with the use of flood lights. Crucially, it has also facilitated younger players to commence outdoor training earlier in the year.
The facility caters for all existing sports organisations across the community at large and also provides new opportunities for sports and fitness participation. The new facilities are available and affordable and open to all ages and gender regardless of means and mobility.
What unforeseen difficulties (not related to funding), if any, were encountered and how were they overcome?
No unforeseen difficulties were encountered as the club’s voluntary team were well organised and implemented a well thought out plan.
What were the key lessons learned?
A key lesson was to anticipate a longer time frame to complete the project than initially anticipated. Broadly, the success of the project is testament to the vision of the GAA club and the experienced voluntary team who worked together from the planning, funding, bridging and delivery stages to ensure a good outcome.
What were the highlights of your project?
The highlight of the project was the opening day and launch of the facilities in November 2017.
Total project spend: €140,000