In the latest round of funding for 2020, twelve local schools and groups have been awarded grants of up to €20,000.
The Energia wind farm fund distributes €60,000 every year to community groups and is administered by the Community Foundation for Ireland.
This year, St Eunan’s National School and Copany Rovers FC have received the largest amount to fund new changing rooms for the 3G astroturf pitch in Laghey.
Pupils and teachers attended a grant presentation at Leghowney Hall, where Principal, Eadaoin McDaid, said that the funding would make a real difference.
Mrs McDaid added, “This is a true community project which has brought many different groups together with the shared goal of developing a state-of-the-art sports facility for our community.”
Barnesmore Sheepdog Society received a small grant of €600 to stage their annual dog trials. Committee member, David Bustard, said, “Our dog trial weekend in September involves more than 70 competitors and brings local farmers and the whole community together. It keeps our dogs to a high standard and it’s a chance to showcase the time and commitment that goes into training sheepdogs. Without this funding, we couldn’t stage such a big and popular annual event.”
The Meenadreen community benefit fund has been set up for the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm. Energia Community Liaison Officer, Rosy Billingham, explained:
“This year, Energia will be making over €500,000 available to community groups living near our wind farms through seven community benefit funds across the island of Ireland.
“We’re delighted to see the difference the funding is making and we’re working with the Community Foundation for Ireland to ensure our funding has a positive and lasting impact.”
The Community Foundation for Ireland Head of Development, Jackie Harrison, commented, “Community benefit funds are making a significant contribution at a grassroots level throughout Ireland. The projects which are being supported by Energia through the Meenadreen wind farm benefit fund are providing much needed services and supports within the community, ranging from support for infrastructure in local schools and community centres, through to providing counselling services and setting up a Men’s Shed for the area.”
The wind farm fund prioritises energy saving and sustainability goals, Projects which have received funding for 2020 include: a biodiversity garden for pupils of Gaelscoil Na gCeithre Máistrí; a rainwater harvesting installation at Leghowney Hall and Cully Hall to reduce mains water use and upgrade toilets; an afterschool service run by the Donegal Family Resource Centre; and new laptops to improve children’s computer coding training provided by Coder Dojo Donegal.
Front row L – R: St Eunan’s NS pupils Méabh and Liam Slattery with David Bustard and Sweep from the Barnesmore Sheepdog Society.
Seated L – R: Samantha McElhinny (Cully Hall), Brigid Boyle (Leghowney Hall), Mary McGowan (Family Resource Centre), Eadaoin McDaid (Principal, St Eunan’s N.S.), Kerry Gallagher (Coder Dojo Donegal), Eamon Cassidy (Leghowney Hall) and Patsy Boyle (Barnesmore Sheepdog Society).
Back L – R: Rosy Billingham (Energia Community Liaison Officer), Scott McElhinny (Cully Hall), Sarah Tully (St Eunan’s N.S), Kathleen McHugh (Family Resource Centre), Eddie Mulligan (Family Resource Centre), Declan Smith (Coder Dojo Donegal) Colmán MacCumhaill and Duailtín Ní Mhianáin (Gaelscoil Na gCeithre Máistrí), Adrian Pearson (Barnesmore Sheepdog Society) and Jackie Harrison (Head of Development, Community Foundation for Ireland).