The Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) committed £7m of loan finance to community enterprise organisations in 2013, it was announced today.
Founded in 1995, UCIT provides community and social enterprises throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with access to affordable loans. As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are recycled for reinvestment into the social sector.
One recent recipient of such funding is Bangor Football Club. The club received a £250,000 loan to assist with the installation of a 3G pitch at its home ground at Clandeboye Park. The club has been operating since 1918 and has been at its current location since 1935.
It is planned that the improved facilities will enable the club to establish a Soccer Academy, allow for greater use by the wider community, and help deliver financial sustainability. Additional grant funding for the project was provided by Sport NI.
Commenting on the funding, Trevor Best, Chairman of Bangor Football Club, said: “Working with UCIT we’ve invested in our club to ensure that we can look forward to the future with confidence. They have taken the time to understand our ethos – there’s a business side to things, but, that also has to be balanced with our history and tradition.
“These new facilities are an important part of securing our long-term financial future and strengthening the connection between the club and its local community. UCIT’s support has been instrumental in making this happen.”
Harry McDaid, Chief Executive of UCIT, said: “With a well-structured plan to bring club and community together, we’re proud to be working with Bangor FC. This 3G pitch will help to enhance the club’s facilities and allow it connect with a wider base of youth organisations.
“We’re very pleased to have supported Bangor FC and many similar organisations throughout the year. This is a further example of UCIT helping to preserve and create employment while also improving the sustainability of key organisations which are at the heart of our local communities.
“I’m confident that 2014 will see many more such opportunities for us to make a difference.”
Since its foundation, UCIT has provided in excess of £30 million to over 250 charities, community organisations and social enterprises. Those interested in finding out more can visit www.ucitltd.com.
The day-to-day running of the new pitch at Clandeboye Park will be managed by SportZone Ireland. The the pitch is now available for hire for 5-,7- and 11-a-side training and matches, as well as rugby and gaelic training. More information on how to book can be found at the SportZone website www.sportzoneni.com.