Community equipment grants make a big impact on local groups

St. Mary's P.S. pupils with new equipment.
St. Mary's P.S. pupils with new equipment.

Five local community groups are celebrating after they joined forces and successfully received small grants from a new pilot programme.

The five Co. Derry groups - Craigbane Youth Club, Craigbane Hall Committee, St. Mary’s Parents’ Association, Claudy Pastoral Centre and Park Hall Committee - each received grants from the Department for Communities (DfC) Small Capital/Equipment Grants Programme.

The grants of £4,000 will be used to purchase equipment between the groups “as a show of how local, like-minded groups can work in partnership to the betterment of themselves and their communities,” said a spokesperson.

“St. Mary’s Parents’ Association have donated their side of the equipment to the local St. Mary’s Primary School.

“The school has now received £1,000 worth of new play equipment,” added the spokesperson.

The grants programme is delivered by Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI) on behalf of the Depart. for Communities.

LCDI Grants Manager, Johnny McShane, said it was a great example of groups taking a collaborative approach to improve their community. He said in some cases such grants were a lifeline for groups.

“It’s great to see local community groups working together for the betterment of their community,” said Mr. McShane.

“It is great to see the smiles of the local primary school children who will get great use and enjoyment from their new play equipment.”

Mr. McShane said the grants programme has delivered over £300,000 to community groups” who work in partnership with other groups, throughout Northern Ireland.”

“These grants can be a lifeline to groups by allowing them to purchase essential equipment to allow the groups to offer more services to their communities,” maintained Mr. McShane.

The Department for Communities announced last year £270,000 funding to establish a Small Capital Grants pilot programme.

The aim of the programme was “to reach small organisations to enable them to purchase items of equipment to sustain and enhance their activities and services to the community.”

Applications were expected from organisations across the youth, sporting, charitable and religious sectors to but equipment “to enhance activities, increase participation, increase numbers of volunteers and increase the numbers and diversity of participants”, said a Department spokesperson.