Antrim GAA clubs urged to invest in their future with social finance

– Community Finance Ireland launches webinar series ‘Supporting GAA Clubs On and Off the Pitch’ –

The social finance model offers tailored support to volunteer-led, community-focused organisations like GAA clubs to achieve their long-term goals. That’s according to Community Finance Ireland (CFI) who urged GAA clubs across the island of Ireland consider social finance when thinking about how to sustain and grow their club into the future.

Between 2016 and 2021, Community Finance Ireland has supported 5 GAA clubs in Antrim, through a total of £603,600 in social finance loans. Clubs such as Loughgiel Shamrocks GAC, St Gall’s GAC and St Joseph’s GAC Glenavy have drawn down social finance loans from Community Finance Ireland to invest in new equipment or kit, improved facilities or new developments.

Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance Ireland NI, said: “We work with clubs right across the island of Ireland and from Ballymoney to Bantry and from Dublin to Dingle, they’re facing many of the same challenges as clubs here across Antrim. GAA clubs are often the heart of a local community and it’s vital that they invest in their future to sustain that important role as community hub for generations to come.

“GAA clubs are more than the teams who line out every week – they’re the coaching staff, the groundskeepers and kit team, the hospitality staff, the bus drivers, the board members and those tireless volunteers who rise to every task at hand. The heritage of a club relies on these people, and it’s important that clubs invest in the future of those volunteers just as they would look to the future of their senior panel.

“Passing on the baton to the younger generation coming up – both on and off the pitch – is vital for the sustainability of clubs in Antrim and through the hands-on support from our team at Community Finance Ireland, clubs can rely on fair and flexible social finance solutions that can help them become self-sustainable as a club and community hub.”

Between 2016 and 2021, CFI has supported 73 GAA clubs across the island of Ireland to the tune of £3.2million in Northern Ireland and €5.1million in the Republic of Ireland.

Supporting GAA Clubs On and Off the Pitch

Mr. Sharvin was speaking at the launch of a new Community Finance Ireland five-part webinar series ‘Supporting GAA Clubs On and Off the Pitch’ focusing on how clubs can invest in their infrastructure and their people to ensure the sustainability of their club, and as a result, their county.

The webinar series will be hosted by Off the Ball sports reporter Aisling O’Reilly. Each event will focus on a different part of the island with a panel of speakers from local GAA clubs.

The first webinar will focus on the challenges faced by GAA clubs in Northern Ireland, where Community Finance Ireland was first established as the UCIT Group in 1995. Speaking at the webinar at 7pm on Thursday, 19th May are Michael Kane, Kilcoo GAC Public Relations Officer, Sinead Reel, Chairperson of Armagh Ladies’ GAA County Board, and Phelim Sharvin, Head of Community Finance Ireland NI. To attend, register here:

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