Lottery Cash to Help NI Community Venues Save Money
16 March 2011
Community groups in Northern Ireland can apply to a £5 million Lottery programme to help them make improvements to their venues and save money during the recession.
The Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme offers lottery cash to local groups to carry out improvements to their community venues so they can make savings on their heating and lighting costs and cut down on their spending.
Organisations can apply for two grant sizes through the programme. Grants of £2,000 - £10,000 and grants of £15,000 - £50,000 are available for groups to carry out improvements such as double glazing, upgrading insulation, or installing a more efficient heating system.
If the venue is already energy efficient, a grant could give organisations the opportunity to install solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass technologies such as wood pellet boilers.
In order to qualify for a large grant, groups must carry out an energy audit of their venue. An energy audit is a report that shows groups how making improvements to their venue could help them save energy and cut their costs. If they want help with paying for an energy audit they can either include the costs in their application for a small grant, or pay for it themselves.
It is possible to apply for a small grant followed by a large grant. But community organisations should be aware that, if they plan to do this, they need to get their application for a small grant in to the Big Lottery Fund by the end of August 2011. This will give them time to have their small grant assessed and awarded and to complete their project before they apply for a large grant.
Groups that have already benefited from the programme include a small rural community group that is installing new PVC windows and ceiling insulation, and a community childcare centre that is putting in new radiators and buying energy efficient light bulbs, While a care home is improving its loft insulation and installing gas–fired tumble driers, and a sports club is carrying out an energy audit to find out whether they can install a wind turbine.
Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, explained that carrying out these improvements could help groups save money on heating and electricity bills they can then use to run additional community activities such as dancing classes or a youth club, and attract new members.
“This new programme is supporting community organisations to carry out improvements to their venues that help them make savings during this difficult period of recession. It is open for applications and we are encouraging local community organisations to apply for funding now. The programme closes in May 2012.”
Information and application packs for the Energy Efficient Venues programme are currently available and can be accessed by visiting the programme pages of our website www.biglotteryfund.co.uk or by calling the Big Lottery Fund’s Information and Events team on 028 9055 1455.