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Seeking funding: check out this website
Comhairle, the national agency responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice and advocacy on social services, has a special section for voluntary organisations in its ‘Support for Information Providers’ part of its website.
Log on to www.comhairle.ie and you’ll find the Resource Database for Voluntary and Community Sectors provides a Directory of Community Organisations, information and documents on funding, managing volunteers, establishing an organisation, and other resources.
Comhairle also run the Citizen Information Phone Service and the Citizen Information Centres.
Thanks to Donegal Community Workers Co-op newsletter for this tip.
- Autumn ’06, Issue 19

 

Communities have loan access to millions
- and can borrow even if a bank declines them

Since 2000, Clann Credo and the Western Development Commission (WDC) have a joint working arrangement and provide social finance to community initiatives located in the Western Region.
Community groups in counties Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo have benefited to the tune of €3.5 million through the joint working arrangement.
The money - in the form of loans - has gone into childcare, community enterprise centres, social housing, tourism,.
The organisations jointly evaluate funding applications from communities in the region. It cuts down on the work communities - especially ones who have difficulty raising funds from mainstream banks - have to do to get a loan. A single evaluation process gives applicants a chance to access finance from the two organisations in one application.
An example of one which received investment finance from Clann Credo and the WDC is Ballybane Community Centre, a CDP in Galway City. The project wanted to build a multi-purpose centre that would provide childcare, a space for sports and social activities, meeting rooms and office space for local support services. The community centre at the time was in need of much repair and various support services operated out of local authority houses in the area.
Ballybane CDP secured a government grant, but still needed more money. The new centre was going to cost €1.3 million. The shortfall could have been fundraised but that would have taken too long. Bank finance was not an option.
So, the project approached Clann Credo and the WDC for loan finance, the application resulted in finance being provided for a seven-year period.
If your organisation has a requirement for loan finance, contact: Tracey Hannon, Clann Credo/Western Development Commission, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon. Tel: 094-986-1441. Fax: 094-986-1443. E-mail: traceyhannon@wdc.ie OR traceyhannon@clanncredo.ie


TWO ORGANISATIONS WITH A SHARED AIM

Clann Credo Ltd is a privately set up organisation; the Western Development Commission (WDC) was established by government. But the two work in similar ways and are involved in the provision of social finance to the community/voluntary sector.
Both organisations only loan out money where there will be a social as well as a financial return and the applicant projects must be able to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan. Clann Credo accepts applications from community projects throughout Ireland. The WDC is specifically concerned with the West of Ireland, where the two co-operate in allocating loans.
Clann Credo is a Social Investment Fund founded by Sr Magdalen Fogarty and the Presentation Order in 1996. It gives loans to community groups and projects who are unable to access traditional forms of finance. For instance, a voluntary management committee may find it difficult to satisfy every demand a bank makes before advancing a loan. The investment often gives other institutions the confidence to commit more finance.
Clann Credo have financed everything from craft enterprises to organic food, accessible transport to special needs projects, community resource centres to social housing, and from childcare services to youth amenities. To date in excess of €8 million has been advanced to over 120 organisations throughout Ireland.
The WDC is a statutory body established by government in 1999 to promote, foster and encourage economic and social development in the West (comprising counties Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo). It engages in policy work, rural development and operates its own €34.4 million investment fund, the Western Investment Fund. The fund includes a dedicated loan fund for the community and voluntary sector.


MINISTER’S VIEW
Speaking in 2004 at Ballybane Community Centre, Galway, Minister Ó Cuiv said:
"This is a new departure for a state organisation to work in tandem with a private social investment fund like Clann Credo. The arrangement has however proved to be very effective. Conventional bank finance terms may present difficulties for volunteers such as personal guarantees required from voluntary members etc. Clearly, social finance works and points the way forward for many communities."
- Autumn ’05, Issue 15