Federation Promoting Community Funding

The Federation of Irish Sport has teamed up with Clann Credo, a charity that provides loan finance to community projects nationwide. Clann Credo recently announced details of a dedicated community sports loan fund of €10 Million.

They have partnered with the Federation of Irish Sport to promote the availability of the fund to the Irish Sports Community, to assist in the financing of development or improvements to training facilities, clubhouses or the purchasing of equipment.

The Federation of Irish Sport and Clann Credo Community Sport Loan Partnership will allow sports clubs to access loans of up to €500,000 without the need for personal guarantees.

The interest rates charged by Clann Credor currently range from 4.95 to 6.75 percent and loans are typically repaid over between two and fifteen years.

Funded

The organisation has funded over 100 voluntary sports clubs and community-managed sports facilities since it was created in 1996. Cherry Orchard Football Club, based in Ballyfermot, Dublin was one of the clubs that availed of a Community Loan from Clann Credo in 2016 to facilitate the development of an all-weather pitch.

Other projects to receive loans include Cork Boat Club, Achill GAA Club and Tullow Tennis Club.

These loans helped these clubs to maximise the impact of Sports Capital grants from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and spread the upfront cost of the investment over time.

The Sports Capital Programme is the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s primary means of providing Government funding to community-based sports organisations. The programme has a hugely positive impact, facilitating the development or upgrade of sports facilities nationwide.

€50 million of funding through the Sports Capital Programme for 2018 was announced by the Department before Christmas with another round likely to be opened up in the near future.

These grant schemes generally require clubs to pay for the project up front before drawing the grant. This is a real challenge to clubs who don’t have access to the necessary finance in advance. In addition, clubs are often asked to provide evidence of matched funding to qualify for a grant which can be difficult for sports clubs who don’t already have the funds raised.

Guarantees

Banks in these circumstances often look for personal guarantees from the club’s committee members who are volunteers, creating a barrier to finance for sports clubs in these circumstances. Clann Credo’s process removes the requirement for those guarantees.

The application process is user-friendly with the focus in determining suitability for a loan being the impact of the project on the club and the community it serves as well as the ability to repay.

“The 12,000 sports clubs nationwide play a vital role in communities right around Ireland,” said Federation of Irish Sport CEO Mary O’Connor.

“Ensuring adequate facilities are available and once available, are maintained and upgraded appropriately is a real challenge. Access to finance for clubs given their voluntary and not for profit nature through traditional financing channels usually doesn’t work so we are delighted that through this partnership we can highlight the availability of this tailored community funding scheme to Irish Sporting Organisations and their clubs.”

“Sport makes up a significant portion of Ireland’s not for profit sector and with more than 500,000 Irish adults volunteering, sport is the single biggest driver of volunteerism in Ireland,” added Paul O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Clann Credo.

“We are delighted to partner with the Federation of Irish Sport, as the representative body for Ireland’s National Sporting Organisations, to build on Clann Credo’s mission of providing finance to community groups throughout Ireland.”

“This much-needed, dedicated fund will allow Ireland’s sports clubs to maximise the funding channels available to them to develop and upgrade their facilities and purchase equipment, all vital in ensuring communities have the opportunity to participate in sporting activities.”

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