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Sport NI launches renewable energy fund for sports clubs

Solar panels at the new Newforge Sports Complex (Image: Sport Northern Ireland)

Sport NI has launched a new £1 million pound capital investment fund for the region’s sports clubs.

Funded by The National Lottery, the Renewable Energy Fund seeks to reduce the environmental impact of sport and contribute to a more sustainable sports club network.

Clubs will be able to apply for funding for infrastructure upgrades that will improve the sustainability of their operations – such as the installation of solar energy systems, air and ground source heating systems, sustainable water recycling solutions, and floodlight upgrades.

The Renewable Energy Fund was launched after Sport NI research found that 80% of sports clubs are ambitious about reducing their environmental footprint and aspire to implement environmental strategies and plans.

Richard Archibald, Interim CEO, Sport NI, said: “Sport NI’s Five Year Plan – The Power of Sport commits to reducing the environmental impact of sport, by leading by example and supporting sports clubs to implement positive change.

“Our Renewable Energy Fund aims to reduce carbon emissions, grow a greener sports sector, whilst also reducing running costs. Clubs can reinvest savings into developing their sport or other club infrastructure, or mitigate costs for their members and communities, particularly important during the current cost of living crisis.”

The Renewable Energy Fund will be delivered as a pilot programme in 2023-24, as Sport NI gathers information on which environmental interventions have the greatest impact within sports clubs. The fund was developed using feedback from sports clubs through Sport NI’s Environmental Sustainability Survey.

Investment will be spread across Northern Ireland with at least one club from each of the 11 council areas being selected to take part. To be eligible, clubs must have completed Sport NI’s Environmental Sustainability Survey.

Sport NI’s Renewable Energy Fund is made possible thanks to National Lottery players who raise more than £30m for good causes each week.

For more information on how to apply, visit the dedicated website for the fund here.

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