£100k funding boost for local community projects

Funding boost: Ross Gillanders , Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; Richard Rogers, Groundwork NI;  Deputy Mayor Alderman Stephen Martin, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; and Heather Moore, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
Funding boost: Ross Gillanders , Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; Richard Rogers, Groundwork NI; Deputy Mayor Alderman Stephen Martin, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; and Heather Moore, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

Four local community projects are to share in a funding windfall of more than £100,000, thanks to the Alpha Programme.

The popular funding initiative, designed to improve a diverse range of community and environmental regeneration initiatives, is continuing to help deliver change throughout Lisburn Castlereagh and other council areas.

Declan McCann and Declan McCarney of Dromara GAC with Ulster Unionist MLA Robbie Butler (right).

Declan McCann and Declan McCarney of Dromara GAC with Ulster Unionist MLA Robbie Butler (right).

The Alpha Programme was established in 2008 by Alpha Resource Management, which is a dedicated waste management and renewable energy company within the Lagan Group.

It distributes funding through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme in order to enhance community facilities and wildlife habitats within a 15 mile radius of Mullaghglass Landfill site on the outskirts of Lisburn.

To date over £4m has been invested in 122 projects, all designed to make a positive environmental impact and cultivate community led initiatives. A wide range of sports clubs, community gardens, play areas and other environmental regeneration projects have benefitted over the years.

The latest funding allocation includes £46,625 for Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

Richard Rogers, Groundwork NI; Edel McGeehan, Santos FC; Deputy Mayor Alderman Stephen Martin, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; and Joseph McGeehan, Santos FC.

Richard Rogers, Groundwork NI; Edel McGeehan, Santos FC; Deputy Mayor Alderman Stephen Martin, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; and Joseph McGeehan, Santos FC.

The council aims to develop a small sensory, wildlife garden within Moira Demesne, which attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year.

The project comprises of pathways, sculpture, planting, signage and a viewing platform with a telescope – all with an emphasis on promoting biodiversity.

Other local groups set to benefit include Dromara GAC, which will receive £50,000 towards environmental improvements and new community facilities, and Crumlin United FC, which has been awarded £7,000 towards the cost of new goals.

Santos Football Club will receive £3,066 to improve access and facilities at their pitch in Carryduff. The funding will provide NIE connection works, a portable toilet and improvements to road access.

Commenting on the success of the programme to date, Liam McDonald of Alpha Resource Management Ltd said: “Tax on landfill credits were initially introduced to reduce waste and encourage more sustainable methods of waste management. We recognised at an early stage that we could develop a programme for the distribution of landfill tax credits at the Mullaghglass site to help support local community initiatives.

“Now in its ninth year, this programme continues to evolve in popularity. Each project really does make a difference for local communities and enhances hidden gems on our local wildlife scene.”

The Alpha Programme is administered by Groundwork NI and currently makes awards to successful groups four times per year following an application process. The funds are made up of a combination of Landfill Tax Credits and direct contributions from Alpha Resource Management Ltd.

Richard Rogers from Groundwork NI added: “We are delighted to see groups take up the opportunity of our new Alpha Small Grants Programme. The Santos FC project is exactly the sort of project we want to support, where a modest injection of funding can have a significant community benefit.

“We’re also very excited by the opportunity to work with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and the residents of Moira to bring additional biodiversity value to the much loved Moira Demesne.”

Applications for the next round of Alpha Programme funding close on June 30, 2017.

Anyone considering applying to the Alpha Programme is encouraged to contact Groundwork NI to discuss their application prior to submission.

Application forms and a map showing the eligible project area are available from Groundwork NI’s website www.groundworkni.org.uk