Dungarvan United AFC, the Fisherman’s Hall in Dunmore East and Kilrossanty GAA Club are among the projects to have benefited from Community Finance Ireland’s €30 million investment in communities between 2016 and 2019.
The level of the organisation’s investment across Ireland was detailed in its inaugural all-island impact report, launched earlier this month.
Dónal Traynor, the Associate Director of Community Finance Ireland spoke about the importance of access to social finance as communities recover from Covid-19.
“With the fallout from the pandemic, we anticipate a reduction in grant funding to the community sector generally, so – in the coming years – social finance will play an increasingly vital role in supporting grassroots community organisations and social enterprises,” he said.
“At the same time, Covid-19 has starkly shown the importance of community solidarity, ‘social capital’ and sustainability within communities.”
As both Ireland and the UK’s fastest-growing social finance provider, Community Finance Ireland works with groups that drive social impact, including sports clubs, social housing organisations, community projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises.
“We can provide loans ranging from €30,000 up to €500,000, and our finance products are specifically tailored for the community sector,” said Mr Traynor.
“We have waived arrangement fees to make loans as accessible and cost-effective as possible, we have a quick turnaround time for lending decisions, and – given the organisations we lend to are typically run by volunteers – we do not ask for personal guarantees.”
He added: “There has been a default rate of just 0.75% on our loans since 2008, which is low by any standard and particularly when you consider that many of our loans are made available on an unsecured basis. This is in no small part due to the strong relationship which we have developed with communities over time.”