Community groups in the area around Galway Wind Park have received €210,000 from SSE and Coillte’s Local Community Fund.
74 local groups working on projects focused on energy efficiency, environmental and social sustainability, safety. and education got grants from the inaugural fund.
The inaugural Local Fund presentation took place at the Oughterard Community Centre earlier this week.
The Connemara Beekeepers Association will be using their money on a community education programme as well as equipment for their lecturers.
Assistant Secretary with the Beekeepers Association Frank Conroy said: “The funding from Galway Wind Park will allow us to roll-out training to our members and increase awareness in the wider community.
“It will ultimately help our ambition of furthering the craft of beekeeping across the Connemara region, and the conservation of the native Dark Bee.”
While Oughterard Leisure Centre will be using their share of the fund to upgrade their gym and leisure equipment.
Maeve Kavanagh, Gym Manage at the Leisure Centre, said they were delighted at the opportunity to upgrade their facilities.
“The facility is used by local people of all ages, and we want to keep it in the best possible condition to ensure it remains suitable and beneficial for the whole community.”
Other projects being supported by the Local Community fund include an environmental clean up by Collinamuck & District Angling Club, improvements to the energy efficiency of Clann Family Resource Centre, and building upgrades at the Down Syndrome Ireland community hub in Connemara.
Anne Reynolds, Community Development Officer at Galway Wind Park said they looked forward to helping many more community projects in the years to come.
“We’re delighted to be contributing to so many important and forward-thinking local projects in the first year of the Local Community Fund.”
“As part of our commitment to Galway Wind Park being a best-in-class project, and in line with our core values at SSE and Coillte, we want to make a genuine and lasting difference for local people and organisations.”
The Local Community Fund makes up half of the total €420,000 Galway Wind Park Community Fund.
Another €140,000 is for a Major Projects Fund, supporting larger scale investments in the area, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
The remaining €70,000 makes up a Scholarship Fund for local students.
Galway Wind Park is Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm. It generates enough electricity to power 140,000 homes while offsetting 289,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year that would have come from burning fossil fuels.