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£1.1m Lottery cash to help NI community venues save money during the recession

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Northern Ireland
Energy Efficient Venues
Release date:
13 2 2013

A voluntary organisation supporting people with disabilities has received a major grant from the Big Lottery Fund to make its Belfast training and resource Centre more energy efficient.

The Cedar Foundation is one of 26 groups in Northern Ireland to be awarded grants totalling over £1.1 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme. The programme, which is now closed for applications, offers Lottery cash to local groups to carry out improvements to their community venues so they make savings on their heating and lighting costs and cut down on their spending.

The charity, which runs a wide range of services for disabled people throughout Northern Ireland, has been awarded £46,947 to carry out energy saving improvements to its Training and Resource Centre in the Upper Lisburn Road. The grant will mean they can install a new condensing boiler, double glazed windows and a solar thermal system.

“The building is a base for our Vocational and Employability Services in Belfast,” said Kieran Molloy, Head of Training Services. “Many people with disabilities face challenges in accessing and participating in employment and training. We provide support and training to help people gain qualifications and develop the skills to find a job or to get involved in the community.

“In the centre we provide direct training in ICT, essential skills and personal development as well as advice and support with assistive technology. We also work closely with employers to encourage and support them to provide job placements and employment opportunities.”

“But our building is 40-years-old and it needs some work. Replacing the old gas system with a new condensing gas boiler will increase our energy efficiency, and the new solar panels with give us hot water and generate electricity. Any savings we make will be channelled back into the services and support we offer.”

Strabane and District Caring Services, whose hall was built in 1956, is receiving £50,000 to carry out wall and roof insulation, a heat recovery system, draught proofing and air tightness tests.

Although it was renovated in 2002, general manager Gerard Harkin said it was not energy efficient. “The walls are stone, the building is expensive to heat and a lot of that heat is lost,” he said. “We want to make it much more energy efficient and that will give us substantial savings.”

The grant will be used to carry out wall and roof insulation, a heat recovery system, draught proofing and air tightness tests. Solar panels will be fitted to provide hot water, and new energy efficient lights will be installed. “Our premises are used by older people and heat and heat recovery are very important,” said Gerard.

“The building is also used for day care for young physically disabled adults who, because of their disability, are not very mobile, and again having a warm hall is essential. And it’s also used by local organisations including the ethnic community group, a drug and alcohol service and a debt advice service.

“We provide services that are vital to this community. We have a cafe which is also used for meetings, we run a luncheon club and Bingo, arts and other activities to keep older people who come from Strabane and rural areas outside the town active. Any money saved will be put into the development of other community services and ensuring we support people in the local area.”

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair said: “The Energy Efficient Venues programme supports community organisations to carry out energy efficiency improvements to their venues that help them make savings during this difficult period of recession, and have a positive effect on the environment.

“This has been a very popular programme and we have awarded grants to a range of organisations across Northern Ireland. Organisations should be aware that the programme is now closed for applications.”

A full list of Energy Efficient Venues grants awarded in Northern Ireland

The Energy Efficient Venues programme is closed for applications. To find about more about the programme visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

For more information contact:
Andrew Kennedy Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 02890 551 426    
Out of hours contact: 07788 640 791
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors
• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004 BIG has awarded over £4.4bn.
• The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £28 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.